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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 07/26/2000

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday  07-26-2000
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
        07-26-2000        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10516.50 -183.50 10692.50 10516.50 1.18 bln   1364/1475
NASDAQ   3987.72 - 41.85  4002.70  3906.55 1.74 bln   1588/2366
S&P 100   791.19 - 11.25   800.94   791.19   totals   2952/3841   
S&P 500  1452.42 - 22.05  1472.08  1452.42           43.5%/56.5%
RUS 2000  513.81 -  0.52   514.33   503.92
DJ TRANS 2800.34 -  8.98  2817.10  2790.77
VIX        22.75 +  1.08    23.23    22.13
Put/Call Ratio       .51

Earnings Disappointments Make for a Gloomy Day on Wall Street

As earnings continue to hog the spotlight, we are seeing
confirmation that investors are less concerned about the actual
earnings numbers and are instead focusing on the forward-looking
statements about revenue for the remainder of the year.  XRX
kicked this trend back into high gear this morning as they
reported earnings a penny ahead of estimates, but cautioned
that estimates for the rest of the year are too high.

Without so much as a whimper, the DJIA plunged through the
tenuous 10700 support level this morning, and that was only the
beginning.  Although finding support above the 10500 level, the
heavy selling volume (just under 1.2 billion shares) hit almost
every sector and the Industrials gave up -183.49 to close at
10516.48.  Nearly 70 points disappeared at the close as fund
managers reshuffled their holdings to make room for their
required acquisition of JDSU (see details below).  Breadth was
mixed with 1363 advancers outpaced by 1474 decliners, although
new highs beat out new lows by 90 to 78.

Lest you think all was negative today, we did get one positive
earnings surprise from Oxford Health (OXHP), as the company
reported earnings of $0.36, blowing away estimates by 33%.  The
company was rewarded by a strong move, as investors snatched up
shares and pushed the price up nearly 10% on triple the average
daily volume.

The biggest bright spot at the NYSE came from the Insurance
sector, as a number of brokerage firms came forward with
positive comments and upgrades, indicating the sector’s recent
rally may have legs.  Bear Stearns upgraded AON Corp. (AOC) from
Attractive to Buy, while Merrill Lynch chimed in with a Buy
rating, up from Accumulate.  The St. Paul Companies (SPC), which
is due to report earnings tomorrow morning, received a Salomon
Smith Barney upgrade from Neutral to Buy, and the positive
sentiment was palpable as buyers flocked to the sector like
moths to a flame.  Besides AOC (+2.94) and SPC (+2.38), other
winners were AIG (+1.13), CB (+2.44), HIG (+3.06) and PGR
(+3.88).  Although the gains were not huge, anything that was
in the green today was impressive, given the broad market

The small rally on the NASDAQ yesterday afternoon did indeed
turn out to be a bear-trap rally as the index headed lower
right from the open.  Gapping below 4000 opened the door for a
quick slide, as selling pushed the Composite down -120 points
within the first 90 minutes of trading.  Semiconductor and
Internet weakness led the decline (see below for details), and
fortunately support held at 3900.  Although the NASDAQ spent
most of the day recovering from its lows, it was unable to get
back above 4000 before the close, and breadth was decidedly
negative.  2368 declining stocks beat out 1591 advancing stocks
and 133 new lows swamped a mere 43 new highs.

So much for the tenuous recovery in Semiconductor stocks.
Providing belated vindication for Jonathan Joseph (remember his
downgrade of the entire sector a couple weeks ago?), the entire
sector bled heavily today.  So what happened, you ask?  LSI had
a disappointing earnings report last night after the close, and
the selling that took place in the after-hours session
accelerated this morning, pushing the stock ever lower, closing
at $31 for a 28% loss.

As if that wasn’t enough to tank the sector, INTC decided to
pick a fight with RMBS, announcing that it will release a
chipset that serves as an intermediary between the processor and
the rest of the computer components.  This will allow PC makers
to use standard, relatively inexpensive computer memory in
Pentium 4 desktops.  INTC is also investigating how to adopt the
chipset to an enhanced version of standard memory called DDR
DRAM that more directly competes with RMBS memory.  This marks
a significant departure from INTC’s product roadmap, which
officially contained only RMBS memory for its Pentium 4
chipsets.  The impact on the sector could be significant and
investors responded by slicing -$9.50 off the price of RMBS and
-$1.88 from INTC.  The negative sentiment bled into the entire
Semiconductor sector, with virtually everything in the red.
Some of the more notable losers were ALTR (-10.63), XLNX
(-4.13), NSM (-4.13), and AMD (-3.44).

Reporting better than expected earnings last night (5 cents vs
estimates of 3 cents) wasn’t enough to prop up shares of EBAY,
and the online auction leader gave up -$3.56 today to close at
$52.69.  Further pressuring the Internet sector was a downgrade
for AMZN ahead of their earnings announcement tonight after the
close.  Holly Becker of Lehman Brothers said she was “throwing
in the towel on Amazon” cutting her rating from Buy to Neutral.
This came on the heels of Tuesday’s downgrade by Tom Courtney of
Banc of America Securities.  Courtney cut his rating on the
company from Strong Buy to Buy and withdrew his price target of
$80, saying he would revise it after the company’s earnings
estimate.  AMZN gave up -$1.56 in the regular session and
despite posting a smaller than expected loss (-$0.33 vs.
estimates of -$0.35), traded below $34 in the after-hours

Ok, let’s get to the big story of the day, JDS Uniphase (JDSU).
As we have reported recently, the company went into the S&P 500
after the close today, replacing Rite Aid (RAD).  Anticipation
of the move has kept the volume very high on JDSU for the past
week, and the price had been bouncing between $130 and $140.
Today saw new levels of interest as nearly 120 million shares
traded hands in the regular session ahead of earnings to be
reported after the close.

As promised, the company beat even the high end of estimates,
posting $0.14 vs. the consensus of $0.12, and followed up with
a bullish conference call.  Revenues increased 33% quarter-to-
quarter, and 173% year-over-year, and management stated that the
only limitation on their revenue growth is how fast they can
make and sell their red-hot Optical products.  The frantic pace
didn’t slow down after the close either, as JDSU traded over 87
million shares (no, I didn’t leave out a decimal point) in the
after-hours session, for a total daily volume of more than 200
million shares.  JDSU closed the regular session at $135.94, but
traded down after hours.

The collateral damage from this heavy action was felt in the
S&P 500 as fund managers sold other index components to make
room for shares of JDSU.  The reason for this impact is that the
market capitalization of JDSU is fully 100 times that of RAD,
and since the index is market-cap weighted, literally all of the
other 499 components had to be reshuffled to keep the index

Market weakness continues, and it is looking more and more like
we have already had our summer rally.  Even companies that are
releasing stellar earnings are seeing shares of their stocks
being sold on the news, while failing to meet earnings AND
revenue growth estimates has become the cardinal sin.  Take a
look at RMDY - they announced earnings 4 cents above the street
estimate last night, but their revenues were disappointing
(notice the common theme, here?) and the stock shed nearly 50%
of its value today to close at $22.38.

The VIX continues to lurk around 22, and the slight move up to
22.27 at the close tonight isn’t nearly enough to get us out of
the danger zone.  As earnings season winds down, we can see that
even the host of strong reports hasn’t been enough to incite
anything approaching a wild summer rally.  Investors’ focus
seems to be shifting back to the economy in the near term, with
the Employment Cost Index (ECI) report taking center stage
tomorrow morning.  Forecast to come in unchanged at 1.4%,
anything stronger than this may re-ignite concerns that the Fed
could throw one more rate hike at the market at its August
meeting.  This type of nervousness, coupled with the normal
summer slowdown as investors and fund managers alike go on
vacation, makes it look increasingly unlikely that the markets
will have sufficient motive to move higher over the next 5

Although it is starting to sound like a broken record, I feel 
compelled to echo Jim’s cautionary statements from last night’s
Wrap.  Use extreme caution in opening any new long positions and
tighten up your stops on open positions.  It is unclear which
way the markets will move for the balance of the week, but
today’s downward bias confirmed the recent trading ranges for
both the DJIA and the NASDAQ.  The incentive to drive this
market higher is rapidly evaporating as earnings wind down, so
don’t assume that every dip will be met with a bounce.

We need to pay attention to the market and trade the trend.  If
you don’t see it, there is no shame in sitting out and hanging
onto your cash.

Mark Phillips
Research Analyst

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The Summer Semester Is Nearing Its End
By Eric Utley

It's time to grade yours truly.  Unfortunately, the report card
is already in the mail.  You might be thinking summer and school?
The two don't jive!  Well, ours is the school of making money in
the stock market.  So, I thought the analogy fit.  As the summer
winds down and traders anxiously await the arrival of fall, I
thought it relevant to review some of the best and worst of this
column.  Our triumphs and tragedies, if you will.  After all, if
we don't study our methods we're bound to repeat mistakes, and
potentially overlook future successes.  Speaking on the latter,
Jesse Livermore once said, "They say there are two sides to
everything.  But there is only one side to the stock market; and
it is not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side."
My aim, over the next several weeks, is to get OIN readers on the
right side more often than not.  I hope to pinpoint the
conditions that led to success in the stocks we have reviewed,
and teach OIN readers how to replicate those results.

After revisiting some of the past reviews, I discovered that you
can make money by following the strategies and directions of this
column.  I also discovered that some of the best stock pickers on
Wall Street are right here at OIN.  Yes, you heard that right!
OIN readers are among the best and brightest traders I know of.
I also have to reiterate that this column is a teaching tool to
help you become a better trader and/or investor.  The goal of
my reviews are not to pick entry and exit points, nor tell you
which stocks to buy or sell.  My job is to help OIN readers
become better traders.  As many of you know, at heart, I'm a
devoted fly fisherman.  And you know what they say about teaching
a man or woman how to fish.

In the next few months I'll search through the vaults of OIN and
revisit some of our past successes and failures.  I'll also
continue to review new stocks from our OIN readers.  So keep
sending in your requests to Contact Support.
Please put the symbol in the subject line of the e-mail.


Silicon Storage Technology - SSTI

How about it? - Linda

Can you explain why SSTI reported 21 cents above the whisper
number of 50 cents and did not budge and its competitor Sandisk
beat estimates by 3 cents and the stock flew.  I believe SSTI's
revenue growth sequential, year to year and 5 year are
astronomical and investors are not realizing this.  Do you have
any info that I don't know about because this is a leader and its
not getting treated like one. - Anonymous

The market is always looking forward.  Wall Street generally
discounts stock prices anywhere from 3 to 9 months into the
future.  In SSTI's case, the company pre-announced better-than-
expected profits about three weeks before reporting its actual
second quarter results.  And like you mentioned, SSTI's numbers
absolutely blew past estimates.  But, its phenomenal profits were
already factored into the stock price.  Keep in mind that SSTI's
52-week low is $7.  Remember, when a company reports its
quarterly results, they are looking backward.  While Wall Street
is looking forward.  I would imagine that SSTI's management
gave some questionable guidance to analysts on their conference
call on July 18th.  Although I didn't listen to the call, I
would bet that analysts left the meeting with some unanswered
questions about SSTI's future.  So, the combination of the post-
earnings profit taking, the Salomon Smith Barney downgrade of the
entire semi sector, and the poor guidance given by SSTI's
management sent the stock plummeting.

The Semiconductor sector is going through one of its typical
cyclical waves right now.  Some analysts fret that demand for
chips will slow in the coming year.  But, according to other
analysts and industry executives, the chip business shows no
signs of slowing.  SSTI's CEO said, "Demand for our products
continues to outstrip our capability to supply."  That's a good
thing!  If SSTI sustains its earnings momentum the recent sell-
off might prove to be a good buy.  The company's SuperFlash
technology is cheap and highly flexible.  The demand for flash
memory should continue to increase as MP3 players and digital
cameras make their way into consumers' hands.  Furthermore, SSTI
has an impressive pipeline; the company successfully developed
nearly 50 new products so far this year.  I agree that SSTI is
one of the leaders in the flash memory market.  But, it would
probably be wise to wait for a clearer future before jumping in.
The poor action in the Semi sector Wednesday didn't look very
good.  It's better to buy on the way up than on the way down!



Biomet - BMET

What kind of trend can you see here?  The stock is splitting
three for two.  Can there be near-term weakness? - Jose'

BMET is a medical device maker.  BMET operates in five distinct
business segments, chief of which is the reconstructive devices
division.  The company has managed to grow sales at an amazing
35% annually since 1983.  Yet, despite the strong sales growth,
BMET has a volatile earnings history.  Profits tapered off last
year amid pricing pressures.  However, the market for medical
devices appears to be firming, proof of which can be seen in
BMET's past two quarters.  The company recently recorded its
second-quarter results and posted a 20% increase in earnings from
the year prior.  Strong sales growth in its reconstructive
products boosted EPS one penny past estimates and carried the
stock to a new 52-week high.

The stock is fairly expensive on a relative P/E basis, but might
be worth a look for a long-term investor.  The company has been
funneling cash into research and development, which has produced
several new high-growth products.  One such product is the new
metal-on-metal hip-replacement device.  BMET is one of two
companies that make such a device.  BMET should continue to see
increased sales for its medical devices over the next decade
noting the dramatic shift in U.S. demographics.  In the near-term
you have the 3-for-2 split to look forward to.  The payable date
for the split is August 8th.  BMET might make a run into the
split, but other than that, I don't see a major catalyst to carry
the stock higher in the near-term.  The stock has been holding up
relatively well despite the correction in the broader market
last spring, which is mainly due to its improving fundamentals.
If you've got some patience and a long-time horizon, BMET might
be worth considering.



Netro - NTRO

Please give me (us) your thoughts on NTRO.  Thanks. - Bob

NTRO is a lesser-known player in the broadband wireless arena.
NTRO targets small and medium-sized businesses in the
Metropolitan Access markets.  As some of you might know, there is
a gap between high-speed metropolitan Internet networks and
some smaller corporate networks.  NTRO supplies wireless
networking equipment to telecom service providers who in turn
supply data and voice services to smaller customers.  Most cities
are still without the necessary infrastructure for all businesses
to gain high-speed Internet access.  NTRO has solved that problem
by developing a wireless broadband technology.  The company has
established key relationships with some of the biggest telecom
names.  NTRO has aligned with Cisco, Nokia, Lucent, and Motorola
among others.  The various marketing and licensing agreements
that NTRO shares with the big boys has positioned the company for
success.  Furthermore, about one month ago, rumors surfaced that
Nokia was in talks to acquire NTRO.  Both companies denied the
rumors, but there's nothing like a little takeover talk to stoke

NTRO reported revenues of $15.5 mln last week when the company
announced its second-quarter results.  That was a 385% increase
in top-line growth from a year ago!  Despite the explosion in
sales NTRO is still without profits.  I would say that is one of
the biggest risks with the stock right now.  However, the company
is expected to burst into profitability next year, with current
estimates running near 27 cents per share.  Noting the company's
upside surprise in revenues last week, profitability might come
sooner than analysts think.  The company is expected to lose 3
cents in its third quarter; an upside earnings surprise might
really get the stock moving.  The stock recouped some of its
losses after the Tech wreak earlier this year with help from its
impressive relative strength.  NTRO will be a good stock to put
on the radar list going into the fall, assuming we get the
seasonal/presidential election rally.  Although the company is
not yet making money, the rate at which NTRO is growing revenues
should catch your attention.  The stock will be subject to
fluctuations in the NASDAQ, which presents some risk.  But,
with backing from the likes of Cisco and Nokia, NTRO should be
a winner over the next several years.



Newport - NEWP

What do you think of NEWP?  It's volume is increasing but it
looks too high to me.  Have you any thought?  I have been
watching this stock.  It looks too good to be true.  Thanks.
- Marie

NEWP is one of those fantastic stocks benefiting from the
current boom in the fiber optic market.  The company makes
products that are used by manufactures to test optical
communications systems, semiconductors, and a host of other
electrical devices.  The company operates an extensive online
catalog which boasts over 10,000 products; marketed to the
engineering and scientific communities.  NEWP is deriving
increasingly larger amounts of its revenues from the sale of
fiber optic testing equipment to the likes of JDSU and SDLI.
Revenues from fiber optic-related testing equipment amounted to
24% of NEWP's total sales last year.  That number climbed to 37%
in the first quarter of this year.  NEWP's increased sales of
optical testing equipment helped the company to handily surpass
analysts' estimates in its last two quarters, and has been the
primary driver of the stock price.  Additionally, the ongoing
consolidation in the fiber optic arena has added to NEWP's
momentum.  With a relatively small market cap around $3 bln,
NEWP could easily be bought by a larger firm such as GLW.  The
possibility of a takeover is merely speculation.

You are right on about the rising volume Marie.  The heavy
trade is a sure sign that institutions have been accumulating
the stock.  You are also correct about NEWP's lofty levels.
Earnings are expected to increase next year by roughly 48%.
That would make NEWP's PEG around 2.4, relative to next year's
growth.  That's expensive!  I don't think that the fiber optic
boom is going to be a fad like some of the Internet stocks were.
Most of the companies in the fiber optic arena, including NEWP,
have sound business models and positive cash flow.  They're just
so darn expensive!  I'd like to see some of the stocks like NEWP
consolidate for a couple of months, and let earnings catch up
with their multiples.  A few months of consolidation would be a
lot easier on investors rather than a complete crash in the
sector.  Now, I'm not calling a top in the fiber optic group, I'm
just saying valuations matter!  The recent run-up in NEWP makes
it hard to look for a good entry.  The risk/reward ratio seems
high at current levels, but a momentum is a powerful thing and
could carry NEWP a lot higher.



Check Point Software Technologies - CHKP

After declaring excellent earnings is on the march up again.
What is your opinion, this march up would hold during summer
doldrums?  Regards. - Sunil

CHKP is a frequent guest of the OIN call list and a leader in
the Internet infrastructure market.  The company pioneered a
technology it calls the Secure Virtual Network (SVN).  The SVN
enables secure and reliable Internet communications between
businesses and consumers.  CHKP targets the virtual private
networks (VPN) market with its SVN technology.  VPNs are
essentially networks that connect the Internet with various
corporate intranets to enable e-Business capabilities.  CHKP
controls a commanding 52% of the VPN market.  That market
dominance has helped CHKP to grow earnings at a break-neck pace.
EPS is expected to grow by 57% by year's end, and 38% in 2001.
Now for the bad news.  The real risk I see with CHKP at its
current levels is that the stock is so expensive.  Yes, the
company has accelerating earnings.  And yes, the Internet
software sector is still booming.  But, for how long will
investors support these high valuations?  I don't want to sound
repetitive, but at the same time, I don't want OIN readers to
lose money.

Although a long-term investor might want to wait for a better
entry into CHKP, that doesn't mean we can't take money by
trading the stock.  And, to answer your question Sunil, CHKP will
probably rally for the remainder of the summer if the NASDAQ
extends its rally.  Otherwise, if the NASDAQ rolls over I bet
CHKP will follow it down.  The CHKP chart is remarkably similar
to the pattern the NASDAQ traced over the last six months.  I
find the correlation almost identical.  With that said, CHKP is
a good way to play the broader direction of the Tech sector.  The
stock should be a long-term winner with its commanding market
share and solid earnings growth.  It just seems a little rich at
its current levels.



Power One - PWER

We reviewed PWER back near the beginning of June.  The stock had
held up incredibly well during the spring bear market, which
suggested it might be a leader once a new bull emerged.  True to
form, PWER surged higher as the markets recovered in June.  Back
then I wrote, "Our current market wants fundamentals in a
stock and that means earnings, earnings, earnings!"  Since
writing that review PWER delivered yet another quarter of
estimate-beating earnings.  The stock was trading at a modest
valuation relative to its future earnings growth in June, and
continues to trade at a discount relative to the S&P 500.  Volume
was increasing when we discussed the stock as institutions were
loading up.  The final ingredient that lead to PWER's surge
higher was the almighty momentum.  The recipe for PWER's success
was increasing earnings, a relatively low multiple which was ripe
for expansion, support from institutions, and a little price
momentum.  Once the market regained its footing, the stars
aligned, and PWER surged higher.



This column 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 Ask the Analyst 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 its accuracy.


Full Disclosure
By David Popper

Last week I mentioned that I have concentrated on 20 stocks 
and traded these exclusively.  Many of you asked me which 20 
stocks I traded.   I certainly did not mind sharing this 
information, but I was concerned that people may put too much 
trust in my selections.  You see, I am only a part time trader.  
I still have a lot to learn.  Throughout my learning process, I 
have tried many strategies trying to find one that fit my style.  
The process was exciting.  I had many highs and lows.  Finally 
I had to honestly evaluate my goals.  My goals were consistency, 
not excitement.  Many strategies, which involve taking potentially 
lucrative positions (buying options) are exciting, but have to 
be closely monitored.  These positions allowed me to win big or 
lose big.  They were certainly exciting, but they were not 
consistent.  Murphy seemed in control.  Therefore I continued 
my search for consistency.  Eventually I began to use 1/2 of my 
account to buy top stocks and write covered calls.  I would 
usually get about 8-10% premium.  I would leave 1/2 of my account 
in cash waiting to buy the dips.  This would allow me to profit 
on downturns as well as upturns. On most, but not all occasions, 
I would achieve somewhere between a 5-10% return each month.  
Of course that return isn’t achieved each month.  Like many of 
you, I suffered in March and April.  My suffering was hedged 
however because I had a sizable amount in cash in reserve.

Later in the process I learned that the strategy is only as 
good as my stock selections and technical analysis.  The natural 
question which emerged was how do I find stocks which fit my 
strategy.  I began looking at the OIN selections, the IBD 
comments, and read literally thousands of news articles, message 
boards, comments etc.  Finally I began to see a consistency in 
many of the selections.  The very best stocks were leaders in 
the fastest growing sectors of the economy.  They were achieving 
incredible growth each quarter.  Most of these stocks were also 
highly volatile because the stock price is incredibly rich by 
any traditional standard.  These stocks are priced based on 
speculation of what they can become.  When analysts are optimistic, 
they see the glass as half full and the stock rises.  When 
analysts mention the potential pitfalls, the stocks temporarily 
tank.  In short, the emotional swings keep these stocks volatile.  
Volatility is dangerous for the option buyer if his purchases 
aren’t precise.  Volatility can be a boon to the option seller 
because volatility increases the option’s premium.  If the option 
seller trades at a technically accurate time, the trade becomes 
safer and the profits increase.

So, how did I find these stocks?  I began to use one fundamental 
measure and one technical measure.  The fundamental  measure 
is EPS (earnings per share.  In IBD , each company’s EPS is 
listed.  IBD measures the EPS by comparing a company’s earnings 
in the two most recent quarters and comparing them to the same 
two quarters from the year earlier.  Then the earnings growth 
rate for the past 5, 4 and 3 years are evaluated.  The results 
are compared to all other stocks and are rated on a scale of 
1 to 99, with 99 being the best.  For example if a stock is 
rated with a 90EPS rating, it outperformed 90% of all other 
companies in earnings growth.  I insist that a stock have at 
least an 80 EPS.  The technical measure that I use is relative 
strength.  IBD measures the stock’s price change over the past 
12 months and once again compares it with  the universe of stocks.  
If a stock has a 90% RS then it has outperformed 90% of the 
stocks over the last year.  Once again , I insist that a stock 
have an RS rating of 80 %.  Sure, I will miss out on some huge 
winners but those stocks with high EPS and RS rating usually 
bounce back after a correction.  Some high performers with low 
EPS or RS do not- remember CMRC?
So here they are, complete with their EPS and RS rating in no 
particular order:

Stock     EPS     RS     Stock     EPS     RS

JDSU      97      99     INTC      94      87
PMCS      96      97     NT        98      95
CHKP      99      98     EMC       98      93
NTAP      99      99     CSCO      98      86
TQNT      98      95     MERQ      99      95
BRCM      84      96     AMGN      84      89
SUNW      98      91     QLGC      99      84
VRTS      99      95     CMVT      98      89
SEBL      98      97     SFA       91      96
ORCL      99      95     WPI       85      88

Remember, all of these except WPI are tech and are dangerous.  
The huge swings can leave you underwater temporarily.  The 
danger however is what brings in the premium.  The high EPS and 
RS brings some security.  Good luck but please get to know the 
companies you trade.

Contact Support

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ATON - Alteon Websystems $151.50 -4.25 (+7.88 this week)

In the race for faster communication, Alteon makes products to
speed up the servers that feed data into networks and Web sites.
The company offers Gigabit Ethernet server switches, and the
controlling operating system to manage server "farms", or servers
that handle large amounts of data.  Alteon sells it gear to
manufacturers, service providers, and content publishers.

Most Recent Write-Up

Not your typical post-earnings sell-off poster child.  ATON has
been powering higher after absolutely blowing away consensus
estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter results, which it
reported late last week.  ATON surpassed analysts' profit
predictions by a stunning 466%!  Who said the Net was dead?
ATON surged into profitability a full three-quarters ahead of
schedule.  The company's impressive results stem from the ever-
increasing demand for its products such as Web switches,
adapters, and traffic management software for Internet data
centers.  In conjunction with the stellar profit report, ATON
said it had acquired privately-held Pharsalia Technologies for
$221 mln in stock.  Pharsalia will bring its innovative content
delivery products to ATON to further address Web switching and
Web hosting needs.  Along with the upside profit surprise,
analysts applauded the acquisition.  Moreover, just before
announcing blowout earnings and the acquisition, ATON revealed
its new Webworking Services for next-generation e-Business
infrastructure.  Many on Wall Street feel that ATON is emerging
as a franchise player in the Internet infrastructure arena, and
have mentioned the company in the same breath with such Tech
heavyweights as Juniper and Redback.  The positive outlook,
fueled by spectacular earnings has pushed ATON to record highs.
Additionally, for a little kicker, the stock is trading well into
split territory with plenty of shares to authorize a 2-for-1.
ATON pulled back Tuesday on moderate profit taking.  The stock
bounced off support at $150 to finish the day strongly.  Look for
entry Wednesday morning if ATON's rally resumes and the stock
clears resistance at $160, its 52-week high.  A bounce off $150
might provide an entry on early morning weakness.


After trading down hard with the markets in the morning, ATON 
bounced off strong support at $140 and rallied for a marginal 
loss on the day.  The fact that ATON closed back above $150 
is encouraging for our new play.  The entry point today looked 
good, but we need the Nasdaq to rally in order for the momentum 
to return.  Check the overall sentiment to make sure the Nasdaq 
bounce is in effect before jumping in on any new plays.  Support 
is at $140 with resistance at $160.

BUY CALL AUG-145*UAO-HV OI= 30 at $19.50 SL=15.00
BUY CALL AUG-150 UAO-HW OI=182 at $16.88 SL=12.00
BUY CALL AUG-155 UVY-HK OI=  3 at $14.75 SL=10.25
BUY CALL SEP-155 UVY-IK OI=753 at $22.88 SL=17.00
BUY CALL SEP-160 UVY-IL OI= 52 at $20.13 SL=15.00

SELL PUT AUG-140 UAO-TU OI= 48 at $10.13 SL=12.75
(See risks of selling puts in play legend)

Picked on July 25th at  $155.38    P/E = N/A
Change since picked       -4.25    52-week high=$160.56
Analysts Ratings      5-3-0-0-0    52-week low =$ 41.00
Last earnings 06/00   est= 0.03    actual=  0.16
Next earnings 08-18   est= 0.05    versus= -0.45
Average Daily Volume   =  946 K


By Ray Cummins and Mark Wnetrzak

It's a jungle out there and hard to tell what's lurking in the
bush.  Hold your breathe - the Employment Cost Index is next!

The market endured a precipitous drop today as industrial stocks
fell on concerns over future revenues.  The technology index was
also battered in early trading amid a slump in semiconductor and
Internet stocks.  Investors have been extremely cautious in the
past few sessions and today they responded negatively to earnings
reports released by LSI Logic (LSI) and Ebay (EBAY).  Shares of
Amazon (AMZN) also came under pressure, following a downgrade by
Lehman Brothers.  The only bright spot for the Nasdaq Composite
was the biotechnology sector, which recovered late in the day,
helping the index rebound from earlier lows.  In the broad market,
drug, retail, oil service and transportation issues edged higher
while financial, utility and paper stocks retreated.  Analysts
say the bearish activity is all part of the public's reaction to
an eventual slowdown in the U.S. economy and most experts believe
that future rallies will be limited until investors become more
confident on revenue growth going forward.  One of the most well
known gurus, Goldman Sach's chief strategist Abby Joseph Cohen,
commented that share price action during the remainder of 2000 is
likely to be less exciting, and more rewarding, than the first
half of the year.  After experiencing the carnage of the last few
sessions, I sincerely hope she is correct!

Summary of Previous Picks: 

   Note - July Expiry As of Friday's Close

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

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

ENZ     JUL    50    46.25   69.94   $3.75   6.7%
ABSC    JUL    55    50.75   82.06   $4.25   5.8%
SDLI    JUL   210   193.81  442.31  $16.19   5.8%
NEWP    JUL    65    60.87  119.00   $4.13   5.6%
ISSX    JUL    80    76.81   85.69   $3.19   5.5%
HGSI    JUL    90    83.38  162.50   $6.62   5.5%
AETH    JUL   180   170.88  183.00   $9.12   5.4%
INCY    JUL    75    73.06   97.38   $1.94   5.0%
IWOV    JUL    70    66.38   69.25   $2.87   4.4%
INSP    JUL    50    48.13   48.06  -$0.07   0.0%

July Positions Closed Early: Echelon (ELON)

GMST    AUG    60    56.06   62.88   $3.94   7.1% Consolidating
VSTR    AUG   135   127.25  138.94   $7.75   6.2% What a Mover!
ITWO    AUG   115   109.00  130.44   $6.00   5.6% 
NTAP    AUG    90    85.44  101.94   $4.56   5.4%
VRTA    AUG    55    52.18   76.13   $2.82   4.4%
ARTG    AUG   100    95.25  108.81   $4.75   4.1% Watch Closely
AWRE    AUG    50    47.00   49.00   $2.00   3.5% Looking Weak

Naked Puts:

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

ENZ     JUL    45    42.50   69.94   $2.50  14.0%
INSP    JUL    48    46.50   48.06   $1.00  13.4%
INCY    JUL    70    68.81   97.38   $1.19  11.2%
AKAM    JUL    95    93.75  117.00   $1.25   8.8%
TECH    JUL    95    92.94  116.13   $2.06   7.9%
MERQ    JUL    73    71.31   99.13   $1.19   7.8%
NEWP    JUL    55    53.31  119.00   $1.69   7.7%
IWOV    JUL    45    44.53   69.25   $0.47   7.3% Adj 2-1 Split
BRCM    JUL   145   142.87  229.94   $2.13   7.1%
AFFX    JUL   140   137.12  193.56   $2.88   7.0%
PDLI    JUL   105   102.12  165.00   $2.88   6.9%
ABSC    JUL    45    43.44   82.06   $1.56   6.9%
BRCD    JUL   105   101.75  199.88   $3.25   6.8%
PDLI    JUL   125   122.37  165.00   $2.63   6.8%
ISSX    JUL    70    69.00   85.69   $1.00   6.7%
CIEN    JUL   130   128.31  155.88   $1.69   6.5%
HGSI    JUL    75    72.62  162.50   $2.38   6.4%
TIBX    JUL    80    78.94  112.00   $1.06   6.4%
RBAK    JUL    78    75.12  139.38   $2.38   6.4%
IWOV    JUL    60    58.81   69.25   $1.19   6.3%
SDLI    JUL   170   164.87  442.31   $5.13   6.3%
AETH    JUL   150   147.25  183.00   $2.75   6.2%
MLNM    JUL    80    77.81  112.75   $2.19   6.0%
RBAK    JUL   115   113.50  139.38   $1.50   5.9%
IDPH    JUL    95    93.87  119.31   $1.13   5.6%
GLW     JUL   200   195.87  283.25   $4.13   5.5%
NVDA    JUL    55    54.03   69.69   $0.97   5.4% Adj 2-1 Split
CHKP    JUL   145   142.00  251.00   $3.00   5.3%
SDLI    JUL   215   213.50  442.31   $1.50   5.0%

July Positions Closed Early: Echelon (ELON)

NTAP    AUG    80    78.12  101.94   $1.88   8.7%
CLRN    AUG    45    43.50   78.44   $1.50   8.5%
VRTA    AUG    50    48.38   76.13   $1.62   8.4%
AWRE    AUG    45    43.75   49.00   $1.25   8.0% Watch Closely
GMST    AUG    50    48.87   62.88   $1.13   7.7% Consolidating
TIBX    AUG    90    87.63  102.34   $2.37   7.5% At 50 dma
MACR    AUG    75    73.32   86.00   $1.68   6.2% At 150 dma?
ITWO    AUG    95    93.31  130.44   $1.69   6.1%
ARTG    AUG    88    85.62  108.81   $1.88   5.9% Still Room
MERQ    AUG    85    83.32   97.94   $1.68   5.8%
SAPE    AUG    85    83.56  125.19   $1.44   5.7%
VSTR    AUG   110   108.31  138.94   $1.69   5.6% What a Mover!
MERQ    AUG    80    78.87   97.94   $1.13   5.2%

Naked Calls:

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

AMD     JUL    95    96.19   80.13   $1.19  13.9%
SSTI    JUL   125   126.38   81.00   $1.38  10.7%
DITC    JUL   110   110.94   83.25   $0.94  10.1%
RFMD    JUL   150   151.75   75.38   $1.75   7.8%

Positions Covered: 

Broadcom (BRCM), Applied Micro (AMCC), SDL INC. (SDLI)

New Candidates:

This following group of plays is simply a list of candidates to
supplement your search for profitable trading positions.  As
with any investment, you must decide if the selections meet your
criteria for potential plays.  Only you can know what strategies
are suitable for your skill level, risk-reward tolerance and
portfolio outlook.  In addition, we recommend that you avoid any
strategy or technique in which you are not completely comfortable
with the potential loss, the necessary adjustments and the common
entry-exit strategies.


BULLISH PLAYS - Covered Calls & Naked Puts

AETH - Aether Systems  $181.13  *** Basing Pattern? *** 

Aether Systems provides wireless data services, systems and
software enabling people to use handheld devices for mobile data
communications and real-time transactions.  Aether's strategy
initially focused on developing services for the financial
services sector but through recent acquisitions they have
expanded into the healthcare, transportation logistics, sales
force automation, and delivery industries.

This week, Aether reported strong growth for the first six months
of 2000, increasing revenue growth to $10.8 million, compared to
only $447,000 for the same time period last year.  In the second
quarter, Aether strove to maintain its position in the industry
by entering into partnerships and launching business ventures
with several corporations.  Among these companies, Visa, First
Data, Reuters, and Research In Motion were the top investors in
Aether's technology.  Aether further expanded its role in the
wireless environment through it's ScoutSync becoming the Palm OS
standard, and through Schwab's launch of its wireless investing
service, PocketBroker; a unique system developed, deployed and
supported by Aether.  A strategic second quarter acquisition by
Aether was the purchase of wireless e-commerce leader, NetSearch.
NetSearch's customers include automobile giants Lexus, Toyota,
Nissan, and Lincoln-Mercury.

Aether is one of the premier companies in the high profile group
of communication companies and a number of analysts are bullish on
its long-term outlook.  The recent trading-range bottom near $160
defines this position as a relatively safe entry into the volatile
networking sector.  Our position offers a low risk cost basis with
a reasonable expectation of profit.

AETH - Aether Systems  $181.13

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

Sell Call AUG 155  HEX HK  13       31.88   149.25     5.1% ***
Sell Call AUG 160  HEX HL  90       28.25   152.88     6.2%

Sell Put  AUG 135  HEX TG  56        1.81   133.19     6.3% ***
Sell Put  AUG 140  HEX TH  87        2.25   137.75     7.7%
Sell Put  AUG 145  HEX TI  53        3.13   141.88    10.5%

Chart =


AMCC - Advanced Micro Circuits  $162.88  *** Own This One! ***

Applied Micro Circuits designs, develops, manufactures and
markets high-performance, high-bandwidth silicon solutions for
the world's communications infrastructure.  Their products are
designed to respond to the growing demand for high-speed
networking applications.

Shares of Applied Micro Circuits rose by almost $30 on July 13
after the company reported a 250% increase in its earnings per
share for the first quarter from a year ago.  Its performance
soundly beat (by $0.04 or nearly 25%) the expectations of most
analysts polled by First Call.  Net revenue was $74.2 million,
up from $31.6 million a year ago and the company credited strong
sales in the first quarter for the healthy profits, as well as
improved operating margins.  Since the announcement, shares of
AMCC have continued to climb steeply, closing yesterday at an
all-time high near $171.  Today’s activity was simply a classic
retrenchment as some investors took advantage of the rally to
lock-in profits.

From a technical viewpoint, the issue has excellent support near
our cost basis and the over-priced option premiums will allow us
to open a new position at a favorable entry point.

AMCC - Advanced Micro Circuits  $162.88 

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

Sell Put  AUG 120  AZV TD  384       1.69   118.31     6.5% ***
Sell Put  AUG 125  AZV TE  517       2.19   122.81     8.3%
Sell Put  AUG 130  AZV TF  434       3.00   127.00    11.2%
Sell Put  AUG 135  AZV TG  509       3.88   131.12    12.5%

Chart =


CALP - Caliper Technologies  $63.22  *** Favorable Judgment! ***

Caliper Technologies is engaged in the lab-on-a-chip
technologies.  They believe their LabChip systems can assemble
the power and reduce the size of entire laboratories filled with
equipment and people.  Their high throughput systems perform
experiments in a serial, continuous flow fashion at a rate of
5,000 to 10,000 experiments per channel per day.

Shares of Caliper Technologies rallied last week after a federal
court accepted Caliper's interpretation of key terms in a patent
suit filed by Aclara.  The court ruled in favor of Caliper on the
meaning of the most critical terms of Aclara's patent claims and
based on the ruling, the company expects to file a motion for
summary judgment in an effort to bring an early resolution to
patent suit.  The companies are currently involved in a number
of lawsuits.  Aclara initiated this patent suit in April 1999,
and Caliper has filed two suits against Aclara, one in March of
1999 alleging trade secret misappropriation and another this year
alleging infringement of five patents.  

Technology patents are a major portion of the company's value and
they have added substantially to their portfolio with four new
additional patents this quarter.  These patents expand the breadth
and utility of chips for their personal laboratory system and high
throughput systems, cover manufacturing processes as well as novel
chip designs and architecture.  Currently, the company has 59 U.S.
patents issued, another 16 allowed, and 150 in the pipeline.

Based on the recent bullish activity in the issue, investors must
believe the company is one track to deliver future profitability
and our position offers an excellent reward potential at the risk
of owning this unique issue at a favorable cost basis.

CALP - Caliper Technologies  $63.22

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

Sell Call AUG 50   DQQ HJ  152      15.38    47.84     6.0% ***
Sell Call AUG 55   DQQ HK  28       12.00    51.22     9.8%

Sell Put  AUG 45   DQQ TI  103       1.13    43.88    10.8% ***
Sell Put  AUG 50   DQQ TJ  91        2.19    47.81    19.5%
Sell Put  AUG 55   DQQ TK  26        3.88    51.13    24.5%

Chart =


VRTA - Virata  $76.13  *** Own This One! ***

Virata sells communications processors combined with integrated
software modules to manufacturers of equipment utilizing digital
subscriber line (DSL) technologies.  These integrated product
solutions enable its customers to develop a diverse range of DSL
equipment, including modems, gateways and routers targeted at the
voice and high-speed data network access market.  Virata focuses
its resources on the development and marketing of its products,
while outsourcing the actual manufacturing of its semiconductors.

On Tuesday, Virata reported record results for its fiscal first
quarter and said it plans to acquire Agranat Systems, to provide
the company with access to critical Web technologies and network
management software.  Total revenues for the quarter were $27.7
million, an increase of 130% over the prior quarter and a 939%
increase over the same quarter one year ago.  During the quarter,
the company continued to secure major contracts with customers
worldwide and their substantial growth in revenue and earnings
was driven by a significant increase in communications processor
and software shipments to this record-high customer base.  Virata
is well positioned with a portfolio of integrated semiconductor
and software solutions that will enable them to maintain further
growth in the DSL and broadband wireless markets.  The company
has strengthened its portfolio through the acquisitions of D2
Technologies and Inverness Systems and proposed acquisitions of
Excess Bandwidth and Agranat Systems.  In short, they are aptly
prepared to stay ahead of the competition in terms of product
range, price, functionality and time-to-market.

VRTA - Virata  $76.13

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

Sell Put  AUG 55   UFA TK  71        1.19    53.81     9.6% ***
Sell Put  AUG 60   UFA TL  269       2.06    57.94    15.8%
Sell Put  AUG 65   UFA TM  127       3.50    61.50    20.3%

Chart =


HWP - Hewlett Packard  $110.00  *** Bearish Technicals! ***

Hewlett-Packard Company is a global provider of computing and
imaging solutions and services for business and the home.  HWP's
major businesses include Imaging and Printing Systems, Computing
Systems and Information Technology Services.  Their Imaging and
Printing Systems provides laser and inkjet printers, copiers,
scanners, all-in-one devices, personal color copiers and faxes,
digital senders, wide- and large-format printers, print servers,
network-management software, networking solutions, digital
photography products, imaging and printing supplies, imaging and
software solutions, and related professional and other consulting
services.  Computing Systems provides computing systems for the
enterprise, commercial and consumer markets.  HWP's IT Services
provides consulting, education, design and installation services,
ongoing support and maintenance, proactive services like mission
critical support, outsourcing and utility computing capabilities.

The recent slump in retail personal computer sales has hurt a
number of the industry's top companies including Hewlett Packard.
Growth in shipments of personal computers in the second quarter
has slowed to half what it was in the same period a year ago,
which could signal a cooling off of sales growth in both U.S. and
European markets.  In addition, the U.S. market growth was well
below the worldwide rate, with unit shipments expanding only 7.2%
over the year-ago quarter.  Hewlett-Packard has generally enjoyed
strong sales of retail desktops in the United States and posted a
34% growth rate over the last year.  However, one analyst noted
that sales will decline unless the company offers consumers and
businesses next-generation computers that are even more powerful
and stylish than the systems that are currently on the market.

Since the news of slowing demand became public, the company's
share value has fallen substantially and based on the negative
short-term outlook, we are going to pursue a bearish position
with a conservative risk/reward perspective.

HWP - Hewlett Packard  $110.00

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

Sell Call AUG 135  HWF HG  1788      4.50    139.50   22.5%
Sell Call AUG 140  HWF HH  796       2.75    142.75   14.7%
Sell Call AUG 145  HWF HI  617       1.81    146.81   10.1%
Sell Call AUG 150  HWF HJ  1538      1.00    151.00   5.7% ***

Chart =


MRVC - Mrv Communications  $71.00  *** Earnings Are Due! ***

MRV Communications has created several start-up companies and
formed independent business units in the optical technology and
nternet infrastructure area.  Their core operations include
optical networking and internet infrastructure products,
primarily subscribers' management, and physical layer, switching
and routing management systems in fiber optic metropolitan
networks; and fiber optic components for the transmission of
voice, video and data across enterprise, telecommunications and
cable TV networks.

The big news for Mrv Communications is that fiber optics firm
Luminent has filed to raise up to $207 million in an initial
public offering.  Luminent (LUMN), a unit of MRV Communications,
specializes in fiber optic components and subsystems such as
laser, transmitters, receivers, and modulators for high-capacity
data transmission.  MRV plans to complete its divestiture of
Luminent within six to 12 months after the IPO by distributing
shares of Luminent common stock owned by MRV to the holders of
MRV's common stock.  While this may eventually be a boon for
MRV's shareholders, the news failed to rally the parent stock
in today's session.  In addition, MRV is due to release quarterly
earnings later in the week, and if past history is any indicator,
the company rarely provides upside surprises. 

We will use the current consolidation period to benefit from
overpriced option premiums with these relatively conservative,
bearish positions.  The probability of the share value reaching
our sold strikes appears rather low but there is always the
possibility of a recovery rally so monitor the position daily for
changes in technical character.

MRVC - Mrv Communications  $71.00

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

Sell Call AUG 85   RVY HQ  266       5.13    90.13    34.7%
Sell Call AUG 90   RVY HR  248       4.13    94.13    29.8%
Sell Call AUG 95   RVY HS  52        3.13    98.13    23.9%
Sell Call AUG 100  RVY HT  124       2.44   102.44    19.4% ***

Chart =


MUSE - Micromuse  $140.38  *** Sector Slump? ***

Micromuse develops, markets, and supports a family of scalable,
and highly configurable software solutions that enable fault and
Service-Level Management (SLM).  Micromuse's Netcool product
suite collects and consolidates high volumes of event information
from network management environments into an active database that
correlates the resulting data in real-time, and then rapidly
distributes graphical views of the information to operators and
administrators responsible for monitoring service levels.

The Computer Software sector has been struggling recently and
even the top companies such as Micromuse have been affected by
the slump.  A number of computer management software producers
reported lower results this quarter and the analysts say the
major factor in the decline was a drop in demand for mainframe
software.  The most recent quarters have confronted the group
with many unforeseeable market factors that negatively impacted
a majority of the independent software vendors.  MUSE actually
outperformed most competitors, exceeding the earnings-per-share
estimates by $0.01.  The company also has exceptional potential
in the future and beyond the near-term consolidation, the issue
should continue to increase in value.

This play is simply based on the current price or trading range
of the underlying issue and its recent technical history.  The
MUSE price trend reflects a negative divergence from a near-term
moving average and the recent downward movement has endured lower
highs and lower lows, on heavy selling pressure.  With the recent
failure at $185, a "double top" formation is in place and for now
it appears the share value has little chance of reaching our sold

MUSE - Micromuse  $140.38

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

Sell Call AUG 185  UZQ HQ  46        2.13   187.13     9.3%
Sell Call AUG 190  UZQ HR  259       1.75   191.75     7.8%
Sell Call AUG 195  UZQ HS  0         1.31   196.31     5.9% ***

Chart =


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