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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 08/02/2000

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday  08-02-2000
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
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        08-02-2000        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10687.50 + 80.60 10724.50 10587.50  990 mln   1582/1275
NASDAQ   3658.46 - 27.06  3753.95  3651.81 1.48 bln   1916/2058
S&P 100   783.02 -  0.99   790.94   781.51   totals   3498/3333
S&P 500  1438.70 +  0.60  1451.59  1433.49           51.2%/48.8%
RUS 2000  500.22 +  2.45   501.95   496.41
DJ TRANS 2874.54 -  0.90  2876.34  2854.50
VIX        22.76 -  0.11    22.84    22.15
Put/Call Ratio       .50
******************************************************************

Sellers Ambush Yet Another Rally 

Hiding at every rally top are sellers that keep the NASDAQ's
technical picture looking bleak.  Today was the third spoiled
rally attempt in the past four trading sessions as buyside
conviction wanes.  Choppiness continues to be the theme in the
NASDAQ with fairly wide price swings.  The onslaught that the
sellers brought to the market late in the session was directed
at many of the NASDAQ generals.  CSCO traded down $2.25 to the
critical $60 level.  DELL gapped down on a downgrade and finished
off $2.00 at $39.56.  INTC felt the weakness also, losing $1.88
to $62.75.  JDSU lost $4.25 to close below its 50-dma at $112.63.
The theme:  the big-cap leaders are feeling the selling heat as
traders sell the rallies.

If you haven't noticed yet, I am very tech oriented.  The NASDAQ
is the market to me.  And the sentiment for this index is
deteriorating with every downtick.  This growing negative trend
is, as Jim has pointed out, seasonal.  I won't go on about the
seasonal factors that attribute to the recent trading pattern, as
they have been rehashed over and over in the Market Wraps.  What
is important though are the results of these factors.  Thin,
choppy trading, more exaggerated moves, and a lack of true buying
conviction.  Does this mean that the markets are doomed?  Not at
all.  We are just experiencing typical summer trading.  And as a
trader, this provides plenty of opportunity, yet caution is
necessary.  Because of the lighter volume, market moves can occur
much quicker and more dramatically so short-term psychology is
essential.  Take your profits when you have them and cut your
losses before they get too steep.  If short-term trading isn't
viable right now, go to cash.  The silver lining of summer trading
is the tremendous bargains that come about after the selling,
especially with the blue-chip tech stocks like those previously
mentioned.  Build your treasure chest and make that shopping list
as buying opportunities will follow.  Until then, prepare for a
rough ride to the FOMC meeting on August 22nd.

With earnings season all but over, the focus will be on interest
rates and the Fed.  Every piece of economic data is analyzed,
digested, and questioned.  Today was a perfect example of how
investors and traders are indecisive at best when it comes to
economic data.  New Home Sales came in below market expectations
at 829K vs. 868K, the lowest level in two years.  The markets
jumped up on the news released a half hour into today's session and
the sailing appeared to be smooth.  But this is just one piece of
the puzzle.  Waiting in the wings is Friday's Nonfarm Payrolls and
the Unemployment Rate.  The NASDAQ spent most of the day near 3750,
a recent resistance level that sellers have held.  It was in the
last hour of trading that the sellers ambushed the tech index and
dropped it to the lows of day.  So what's happening here?  Technical
trading.  Traders are staging calculated trades at key support and
resistance levels.  Most importantly, they are selling the rallies.
This should be triggering red flags and caution lights.

In the 30-minute NASDAQ chart below, since we have broken the 3850
last Friday, you can see that we have entered into a new range.
Last Friday's attempted bounce failed on GDP concerns.  Monday
was a classic dead-cat bounce as the bears snatched back those
gains on Tuesday.  And today, we got both sides of the action
all rolled into one session, closing off 27 points to 3657.  The
question for the rest of the week is:  Can the NASDAQ hold 3650?
I would be amazed to see the NASDAQ hang onto 3650 in August.  On
Monday, the morning dip took the NASDAQ to 3615.  I mentioned last
week that the NASDAQ probably had its sights set on the 3580 level,
the June 1st close prior to the gap up.  Many analysts on the Street
forecast the NASDAQ to test support in the 3500 to 3550 range.
Volume has been declining and tells us that these pseudo rallies
aren't with conviction.  Today the NASDAQ volume was only 1.46 bln,
not very strong.  Should we be hanging our heads in dismay?  Heck
no!  We are option traders and must seize this chance.  Trading in
QQQ puts has been very profitable in this recent decline.




Notice below how $90 on the QQQ's has provided very profitable
intraday entries for quick trades.  This is one of my favorite
trades, if it goes my way, because not only do you benefit from
the intrinsic value, but the volatility increases as the market
sells off.  As a result, in general, you are selling higher
volatility on the exit side of the trade.  It's a win-win situation,
but timing entry and exit points is essential.  The NDX.X, the
NASDAQ 100 index, closed below the key psychological level of 3500,
finishing at 3490.




Watching some of the NASDAQ 100 companies is a good way to gauge
the overall market sentiment, and to trade the QQQ's.  As I
mentioned earlier, CSCO is trading near its critical support of
$60.  Many consider its health as a bellwether for the tech
outlook.  INTC also fell to the hands of profit takers and closed
right at the low of the day.  However, the big news of the day
was DELL.  U.S. Bancorp Pipper Jaffrey downgraded the hardware
heavyweight to a Buy from a Strong Buy, stating that a 30%
forecasted revenue growth is "unsustainable."  They also cited
concerns about weakness in the desktop business.  As the hardware
stocks continue to stumble, DELL below the key $40 level, closing
at $39.56, a level not seen since February.  The Biotechs had a
good day today, minimizing the overall losses on the NASDAQ.
Leading the charge was PDLI(+15.19), MLNM(+5.56), and HGSI(+3.63).
Yesterday, PDLI posted better-than-expected earnings of $0.23,
beating the Street by 5 cents, buoyed by higher sales of humanized
antibodies that are made using their technology.

What about the INDU?  I don't know, you tell me.  Seriously, the
INDU has put together two days of back-to-back gains that actually
has made the chart a little bit attractive.  After holding the key
support level of 10500, minus the intraday candlesticks below, the
INDU launched from there to stage what appears to be a decent
rally.  The index has received a nice boost from the financials,
elevating it 200 points in just three days and poising it to
challenge that difficult resistance at 10800.  Yet, before heading
to this point, the 200-dma lies at 10769 and may turn out to be
a level of contention.  If the buying interest continues in the
financials, the INDU very well may take a shot at 10800.  This
would further drive the divergence between the NASDAQ and the INDU,
which we haven't seen since the Spring.  LEH lead the way, adding
$5.75 to $118.50 after Bear Stearns raised its rating to a Buy
from an Accumulate.  Tagging along were:  MER(+1.38), MWD(+1.25),
and BSC, up $3.38 to a 52-week high of $58.63.  Overall the INDU
was very strong today with XOM(+2.88) on news that oil inventory
levels were significantly lower than thought.  Summing up the
positive sentiment on the INDU is that INTC was the biggest loser
on the day with a loss of $1.31.  Not bad at all.  Tomorrow,
traders will be looking for follow through to confirm the INDU's
strength.  After the close today, Gap(GPS) warned that it will
miss earnings estimates of $0.23 by 2 or 3 cents.  GPS is down
over $5 in after hours trading and may be a drag on the markets
tomorrow.




Looking forward, Initial Jobless Claims will be released at
8:30 am EDT tomorrow as a precursor to Friday's economic data.
Given traders' recent indecision, they may or may not react, but
with the lack of any clear catalysts and concern over interest
rates, the markets will most likely gyrate as it digests the data.
I expect volatility to increase with the lack of positive news to
drive the markets.  Technical trading will continue to be the
trend.  Buyers beware:  opening any long positions should be done
so with extreme caution.  The sentiment here is short-term bearish
and I certainly will stay close to my QQQ puts.  If it doesn't feel
right, then stay on the sidelines in this choppy market.  Remember
that this is typical summer trading and patience will pay off in
the Fall.  Take your profits quickly and when in doubt, stay out.

Matt Russ
Asst. Editor


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***************
ASK THE ANALYST
***************

Okay, we might be a little early.
By Eric Utley

But, let's review how to pin point a market bottom.  I recall
that we had a similar discussion several months ago after the
spring bear wreaked havoc in the Tech sector.  However, in light
of last week's sell-off, and the current tug-of-war between the
bears and bulls, I thought it might be pertinent to review how to
spot the next big bull.  I received a fantastic e-mail from
Richard, who also requested ITWO below, which read as follows,
"Now that the summer doldrums are here and the markets are
potentially at the bottom or close to it what are some of the
technical indicators and fundamentals we should be watching to
figure out where the bottom is and hence when this whole thing
will turn around?"  Great question Richard!

For a bottom to form, the market needs to wash out the weak
hands.  That 'cleansing' usually takes place with a capitulation
in selling, which is marked by a big down day on heavy volume in
one or several of the major market indices.  The heavy selling
generally induces more fear in market participants, which is
measured by the VIX or the CBOE equity Put/Call ratio.  I tend to
agree with Jim, in that, I don't think we are quite there yet
noting the relatively low levels of the two aforementioned
indicators.  Once the final sellers have been weeded out by the
market, the next crucial step is to watch for an attempted rally.
A major index needs to rally by 1 to 2% on increased volume.  The
most important step in pin pointing a market bottom is to watch
for a follow-through day to the initial attempted rally.  A
follow-through rally should take place between 4 to 10 days after
the initial rally attempt on increased volume.  It is important
for the market to hold its ground and not sell-off after the
initial attempted rally.  It's also important for the market not
to run ahead of itself after the initial rally, otherwise you
might get caught in a bear trap.  To summarize, look for the last
of the sellers to be removed on a big down day, watch for an
initial attempt at a rally, and most importantly, look for the
follow-through to the initial rally, which is signaled when a
major index rallies 1 - 2% higher on heavy volume 4 to 10 days
after the initial attempt.  The preceding events took place when
the NASDAQ rallied over 35% from its bear-market lows to its
July peak.  Be patient, and wait for the bottom!

We have several great requests to go over tonight, which might
include a few future winners.  I have also continued our revisit
of past successes with SANM below.  If you have a favorite past
winner from this column, or a future prospect send your request
to Contact Support.  Please put the symbol in
the subject line of the e-mail.

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

I2 Technologies - ITWO

Is this a viable play for a channeling stock?  I see just above
110 as the current bottom looking to form by the end of next week
and then turn back up.  The trading channel seems to be
narrowing...what does this indicate?  Thanks. - Richard

Two more great questions Richard!  Let me address the former
inquiry first.  But, before we delve into a strategy discussion,
let's review ITWO's fundamentals, which will help us to better
game the stock.  ITWO is one of the premier players in the B-2-B
arena; I might add a very profitable player too!  The company has
a history of surpassing EPS estimates by a wide margin, and is
expected to grow its earnings at a healthy 43% clip over the next
five years.  ITWO's stellar earnings history and expected growth
makes the stock an attractive candidate for a long-term investor
who believes in the viability of the Internet, especially B-2-B
services.  The company recorded its highest revenue growth rate
to date when it reported its second-quarter results two weeks
ago.  ITWO's CFO told analysts that he expected their record
growth to accelerate into the end of the year.  If those remarks
hold true, ITWO is a viable play at its current levels.  After
all, earnings are the main driver of stock prices!  However,
although ITWO has an excellent earnings history and an exquisite
expected growth rate, there is no hiding the fact that the stock
is expensive.  At its current levels ITWO trades with a forward
looking P/E north of 280.  That lofty valuation makes the stock
highly subject to fluctuations in the NASDAQ.  Proof of my
postulate came today when the NASDAQ rolled over in the final
hour of trading.  ITWO was doing quite well this morning when the
NASDAQ was trading higher, but, when the Tech-heavy index rolled,
ITWO was the first to fall.  My point is the NASDAQ needs to
cooperate if ITWO is going trace a new high in its ascending
channel.

Now let's tackle your second question Richard.  The narrowing
channel that is evident on the chart reflects an increasingly
tense battle between the ITWO bulls and bears.  The compressed
trading, commonly referred to as a 'coiled spring', weeds out
the week hands on either side of the market.  By that I mean the
weak longs and weak shorts are shaken out before a big move in
either direction.  That 'big move' will most likely be dictated
by the direction of the NASDAQ.  If the index continues to
stumble, ITWO could break its string of higher lows, which might
present a trading opportunity on the short-side.  An extended
rally in the NASDAQ might boost ITWO into breakout mode, which
might present opportunity from the long-side.  Either way, it's
crucial to confirm either a breakout or failure with heavy
volume, which would suggest the move has conviction.  Otherwise,
you run the risk of becoming a 'weak hand'.




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

Artesyn Technologies - ATSN

Please provide your outlook on ATSN, FBCE, CYBE.  Thanks.
- Vishal

Welcome back Vishal!  For our new readers, Vishal has requested
two stocks in the past - PWER and TRMB - which went on to be big
winners after we reviewed them.  The pressure is on Vishal, let's
see if you can make it three-for-three.  Of your three requests,
I chose ATSN because of its impressive relative strength, and
because of the industry it operates in, which is coincidently
very similar to PWER.  ATSN is a leading supplier of power
conversion products and communication subsystems.  At the heart
of ATSN's operations is the manufacturing of power conversion
systems.  ATSN's systems convert electrical power to the right
'level' for file servers and network switches to operate.  To put
it in laymen's terms (my terms), ATSN provides the juice for the
Internet to run.  The company has an all-star list of customers,
which include HWP, JNPR, NT, ERICY, and IBM.  Its fundamentals
look great; low level of debt and a healthy cash position on the
balance sheet.  EPS should grow around 22% over the next 3 - 5
years, and the stock is still relatively cheap with a PEG around
1.50.

The company does have a choppy earnings history with two misses
in its last three quarters.  However, the recent earnings
shortfalls were a result of ATSN's restructuring to focus on
higher growth markets, which increased research and development
costs and sliced into earnings.  If the company can get back to
delivering steady earnings growth, ATSN will be a stock to watch.
The real risk I see with ATSN right now is trying to pick a good
entry point.  Turning to the technicals, you can see the stock
doubled from its lows in late May.  It has since sold-off to
consolidate its recent gains.  I'd like to see the stock
consolidate between $30 and $40 for a couple of weeks, and then
watch for a breakout on heavy volume to new highs.  The
decreasing volume is indicative of consolidation, and should
continue to fall as ATSN churns.  Be patient and wait for the
breakout above $40!




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

VerticalNet - VERT

I would like to read your analysis about VERT. - Richard

VERT operates and owns 57 Web sites that cover a broad spectrum
of industries.  The company builds and manages Internet
communities in an attempt to deliver specific business needs.
Including industry-specific information and a platform to
complete transactions.  There is no doubt that VERT has developed
and implemented very novel and useful solutions for businesses
across a wide variety of industries.  However, they have yet to
turn a profit.  In fact, their losses are increasing from
quarter-to-quarter.  The B-2-B sector, similar to the humbled
B-2-C sector, is built on the promises of future profits.  And,
although the company reported a 95% sequential jump in revenue
last week when it reported its second-quarter numbers, the sales
figures fell under heavy scrutiny, hence the recent 20% drop.
The debate centered around the fact that VERT derived 54% of its
Q2 revenues from NECX.com, which is actually an offline exchange
where people trade orders for semiconductors.  Ironically, VERT -
supposedly a B-2-B - derives half its revenues from a real world
operation, which makes it hard to justify its 22 times revenue
valuation.  The other half of VERT's revenues comes from online
advertising, which is shaky to begin with.

The current quandary that VERT is mired in, combined with the
fact that the company is still losing money from operations,
gives me reason to pause.  If the NASDAQ weakens into the fall,
it is very likely that VERT could revisit its spring lows near
$30.  I think a prudent plan of attack would be to wait for the
current controversy to clear, and listen for upside revenue
guidance from VERT.  If the company's business model is accepted
by Wall Street, the stock could rebound very quickly.  VERT is,
after all, a favorite among momentum investors.  Another item I
find very interesting is the wide margin in VERT's earnings
estimates for 2001.  The consensus estimate is for VERT to lose a
penny next year.  Yet, the high estimate is +0.13 and the low
estimate is -0.80.  That wide margin leaves plenty of room for a
surprise one way or another.  Wait for some guidance from VERT
and listen to what the market has to say about the current debate
surrounding the company's business model.  The four-month
consolidation might provide a good entry point if VERT gains
Wall Street's approval.




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

TriQuint Semiconductor - TQNT

Please give your analysis of this stock.  Thank you. - Anonymous

I have to hand it to Jonathan Joseph of Salomon Smith Barney when
he downgraded the entire Semiconductor sector in early July.
Although I didn't like the call at the time, he was pretty
accurate in forecasting a downturn in the Chip stocks.  Since
Joseph's call, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index ($SOX) has
shed 10%!  Almost every chip-related stock moves in unison with
the broader sector because their respective businesses are so
dependent on one another.  Only time will tell whether Joseph
was correct in calling the top in the Chip stocks.  But, it is
evident that uncertainty looms in the Semi sector.  We need look
no further than the recent action in TQNT to prove that point.
TQNT absolutely blew past estimates when the company reported its
second quarter results two weeks ago.  TQNT reported 19 cents a
share, the consensus estimate was 13 cents!  The day TQNT
reported its numbers the stock closed around $53.  It has fallen
over 30% since surpassing estimates by 46%.  What a reward! Not!

So what gives?  Many on Wall Street have suggested that the
blowout numbers reported by the Chip companies were already
factored into the stock prices.  When you combine those high
expectations with the prospects of a slowdown, and several high
profile warnings, you have the recipe for a sell-off.
Additionally, the Chip stocks actually peak 6 to 9 months before
demand for chips actually slows.  So, the slightest hint of a
slowdown can send the Semi sector south.  Now, it's not all gloom
and doom in the Chip sector.  For starters, the summer season is
typically a very slow time for the Semi business.  As for TQNT,
the company is somewhat insulated from the cyclicality of the
industry because it manufactures highly specialized communication
chips that are made from a material known as gallium aresenide,
which differs from the typical silicon chips.  TQNT's recent
sell-off gives the stock a relatively low 2000 PEG of 0.34.  And,
earnings are expected to grow by another 33% next year.  The
recent dip might prove to be the entry point of the year, if and
only if, the outlook for the Chip sector improves.  I can only
suggest to wait for TQNT to stabilize and wait for the Chip bulls
to return.




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

Sanmina - SANM

We picked up on SANM in late May, just after the spring bears
were finishing up their "work" in the Tech sector.  The stock had
held its own relatively well, despite the sweeping damage in the
rest of the Tech sector.  On May 31st, I wrote, "There are a few
bullish items for SANM going forward.  The company is steadily
growing earnings and selling at a reasonable valuation."  At the
time, SANM had a 2000 PEG of 0.80.  To reiterate, a PEG below 1.0
is generally considered cheap.  The company surpassed estimates
by 8% when it reported later in July, which kept its string of
better-than-expected earnings announcements going.  As with many
of our past winners in this column, the recurring themes with
SANM were increasing earnings and a modest valuation.  The third
component which makes for a winning stock is a strong technical
position.  Looking back on the chart, you can see how SANM
cleared two resistance levels in two consecutive days on
increased volume, ultimately climbing as high as $102, 62% higher
from our initial review point!  The old axiom of 'buy high and
sell higher' comes to mind when looking back on SANM.

By revisiting our past reviews I'm not trying to 'toot' my horn,
so to speak.  I'm simply trying to pin point what lead to the
success of winning stocks.  SANM marks the second winner we have
revisited, with the first being PWER last week.  Both stocks had
similar fundamental and technical characteristics which led to
their respective rallies.  Next week I'll dig up a winner with a
somewhat different path to success.



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

DISCLAIMER:
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.



***********
OPTIONS 101
***********

Get In Sync
By David Popper

These are times that try a trader's soul.  Many positions are
underwater.  People are leveraged and anxiously await every
economic number that comes down the pike.  Do I buy before the
next report or do I sell?  Is the market ready to collapse or do
I buy the dip?  How can I make sense of this crazy market and how
can I profit?  Welcome to the world of trading.  You see, long
term investors do not have any of these worries.  They figure that
 holding for 20 years will sort out the short term mess.  And do
you know what- they are for the most part correct.  Am I
advocating a buy and hold strategy?  Of course not.  There are
some things that long term investors do that are worth emulating.
If we can take the good things that they do and use short term
techniques to maximize returns, we may be able to make trading
less time consuming, more profitable and more enjoyable.  Again,
if you have hours to spend on trading, there are endless
strategies which would be more profitable.  I need techniques
that fit into an otherwise full schedule.

1.  Successful long term investors only buy stocks which should be
viable over the long term.  If the stocks that you trade are
leaders in a fast growing segment of the economy, they should
survive short term downturns.  As stated before, I limit my
purchases to stocks with an EPS of 80 and an RS of 80.

2.  Successful long term investors only invest money that they do
not need for at least a year or longer.  Stocks go up and stocks
go down.  There will be months where things just do not work out
as planned.  You do not want to be in the position of being
required to liquidate positions that are down merely because you
do not have enough reserve.

3.  Successful long term investors do not allow any one position
to grow to the extent that its demise will capsize the portfolio.
Any one position can suffer horrendous short term losses even if
it is a quality stock.  Remember QCOM?  Too much QCOM would have
been great in 1999, but not so good in 2000.

I believe that if the above long term paradigm were employed
combined with short term techniques of understanding basic chart
patterns, support/resistance, and basic options techniques like
covered calls, naked puts, and LEAPs, much of the pressure that
short term traders face would be relieved.  The short term
techniques would enhance the return, while the long term
perspective would only allow the trader to trade solid issues,
which normally survive downturns.  When trading solid issues,
dips become buyable and the next economic number is not as
critical.

Speaking of dips, it appears that opportunity is beginning to
knock.  Some stocks are beginning to show some signs of basing.
Many great stocks are on sale.  Remember last November and
December when you read that a particular issue had run 50% since
it bottomed?  Remember thinking that it would have been nice to
have the opportunity to buy in at those levels?  We may be getting
near that time.  Yes, stocks could still go down, you can't guess
the bottom. We may even have a wash out, but it is not too early
to have a buy list ready to go.  Don't worry if you buy too early.
If you are buying quality, it will rise and maybe to some excellent
gains.  As Winter gives way to Spring, so will a seasonal downturn
give way to a decent rally.  I'm not saying to purchase tomorrow.
I am saying that opportunity for a great purchase in market
leaders may be quickly approaching.  A purchase of quality on sale
can lead to magnificent gains.  These times are the whole reason
that I keep cash in reserve.  Welcome a significant downturn as a
buying opportunity.  This will keep you in sync with the market.

Contact Support



**************
TRADERS CORNER
**************

Questions Answered
By Austin Passamonte

Let's wrap up the week answering a few of the most common
questions I receive and a few other tidbits as well.

First, a note from Kathy Black directs us to an alternate
option chain from cboe.com:

Try using "Yahoo Finance" for options.  They now offer options
and it is so much more user friendly than the CBOE site which
I had used for years before this one became available just a
short time ago.  Faster download and you don't have to page
forward for more options.  Each month (LEAPs, also) is displayed
separately and you choose which one.

Thank you Kathy. We'll take a peek over there and see the
difference ourselves!

Austin,
In Monday's (7-31) newsletter column you referenced a recent
call to put ratio of 224.1:1 at the OEX 825-900 level. You said
that this would exert downward pressure should the OEX trade
that high (a "long squeeze").

My question is why. Is it because market makers purchased stock
to hedge these positions and would sell the stock as those calls
were sold?  Thanks, Vernon M.

This topic has generated more e-mail volume than I've received
in quite some time. Can we surmise there isn't much written
about the topic to date?

It's a complex, involved subject beyond the scope of this
format or me to fully explain. However, a key point to keep
in mind is the difference between option contracts versus
stocks or futures is the Greeks impact on options.

When a market-maker for stocks goes long at the bid or short
at the ask his delta to be offset is a factor of one. That's
because stocks move at a one-to-one ratio as a "cash market".
On the other hand, when market makers go long or short options
in order to pocket bid/ask spreads the range of deltas can be
from almost one to the tiniest fraction depending on how far
in or out of the money that option is, time remaining until
expiration, etc.

A market-maker's primary objective is to create a delta-neutral
hedge position on every trade he takes, thereby locking in a
guaranteed profit of the bid/ask spread. Simple as that. This
means that market makers wishing to hedge a stock position
with options may need to buy more than one option contract per
round lot of stock, depending on Greek factors. By the same
token more than one option can be offset with one round lot
of stock in the opposite scenario. Clear as mud?

There are delta-neutral strategies in the option world we
traders can implement to essentially achieve the same thing.
Chris Verhaegh's "Aztec" trades are one of those. By the
time that baby's complete he's just about locked into sure-
fire profits. This does take some advanced skills and Chris
sure has them. I saw him whip off numbers of complex math
equations faster than this AMD 700 processor is capable of!

Folks, I'm on the other end of that mathematical ability. I
realize many people in this world are much more analytical
than myself. There is plenty more to this topic by a wide
margin than I understand or care to discover. Just like my
Dodge Intrepid, I have no clue what the engine's firing
sequence is or any other details about the drive train's
inner workings (cause). Nor will I delve into a mechanic's
manual to find out. When I turn the key and hear the motor
purr the results of that (effect) are all I care to know.

So sums up my coverage of open-interest resistance and support.
We know what to look for and how it might operate, that's
all it takes for us to use it while trading. Further study
for knowledge' sake has my blessings and have at it if you
will!

***********

(edited for brevity)
Responding to the request for follow ups in your July 24 column,
using your trading model with daily charts I waited until Tues
July 25 when I thought the MACD crossover and histogram signals
were stronger and bought OEX Aug 790 puts @ 11and QQQ Aug 93 puts
@ 4.25. Sold the OEX puts for 18.75 and the QQQs for 7 on Friday
July 28! Thank you OIN for making this possible. My plan is to
paper trade some stocks with 60 minute charts for a while and
initiate trades when I feel confident with this shorter time
frame. Thanks again for the great advice. I sincerely appreciate
the high quality content and trading information conveyed regularly
at OIN. Ed Urovitz


We've received a bunch of testimonials from traders trying the
oscillator models portrayed in recent articles. Most have been
glowing reports and I'm thrilled to hear that. Of course we do
welcome all tales of false signals and woe if they exist also.
Here's a very common question I receive:

Dear Austin:
First I really enjoy your writings, but I find myself even
more confused than before. I really studied your article on
7/10  "Lets Perfect A Trading Model". It was very informative
and I thought I understood it. But I'm having trouble with
the analysis of a number of stocks that give different signals
depending on the time frame I use. Example: Thursday July 27
Network Appliance (NTAP)30 minute chart screams buy a call....
via the Bollinger band, MACD, Stochastics and RSI. (These are
the three major indicators I have found most effective)

The 60 minute chart also is very close to a call, but the
daily chart reads like should be looking at puts. What kind
of indication do these three charts give me?

Please let me know if I'm misunderstanding many of the points
you made in the article.
Thank you, Rich R.

Well Rich, you clearly have a handle on things. My look at
these charts show where NTAP rose from $80 to near $90 via
it's hourly chart signal before pulling back a bit. Meanwhile
the daily chart continues to warn of a sell. What gives?
These different time frames depict waves of price action within
waves as Gann theory implies. To put it in plain language, the
daily chart shows us what stage the overall move is in while
hourly and intraday charts signal corrections within that
overall trend.

For example, NTAP remains in descent from oversold and will
likely post lower-lows before forming it's next bottom to
rally from. Meanwhile, there are and will probably be more
short-term bounces we can trade.

Position traders keying off daily charts can take the clear
signals, buy distant-month options and wait for the trend
to reverse. This will result in big winners from the limited
amount of signals issued. Such trend moves can easily take
weeks to go from top to bottom or bottom to top. Staying
power is imperative, patience are a must but massive profits
with lowest risk of all directional trading is the reward.

On the other hand, active traders can play each bounce
within the overall move by trading hourly charts. Expect
to be in these plays no more than four-five sessions if
not fewer. We must remain cognizant of the daily chart trend
and be prepared to exit with careful stop usage.

Hyper-active traders can use 30 minute charts to scalp a few
points from intraday moves with quick, nimble entries and
greedless, pre-determined exits. Be happy with small gains,
keep stops tight and enjoy the action.

On the rare occasions all charts align you have what I
consider a lead-pipe lock to win in front of you. Be careful
not to use x-ray vision on these charts, the kind that let's
you see trade setups that aren't actually there yet. I have
finally thrown my pair of x-ray glasses away for good after
discovering them to be the most expensive eyewear I've ever
sported, bar none!

*******

Two great books every trader should have can be found right
here in the OIN "bookstore" link. "Tricks Of The Floor
Trader" by Neal T. Weintraub and "The Trader's Edge: Cashing
In On Winning Strategies Of Floor Traders, Commercials &
Market Insiders" are must-read books. They depict and explain
tactics and mindset of Market Makers and Commercial traders,
the most successful groups in the game.

Enter these in the title search box and order your copies
today. I've found each to be invaluable trading resources
worth many times the discount price found within this site.

Enjoy your market study and we'll see you next Monday!

Best Trading Wishes,

austinp@OptionInvestor.com


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**********************
PLAY OF THE DAY - CALL
**********************

FRX - Forest Laboratories $113.06 +0.88 (+3.00 this week)

Forest Laboratories develops, manufactures and sells both branded
and generic forms of ethical products which require a physician's
prescription, as well as non-prescription pharmaceutical products
sold over-the-counter, which are used for the treatment of a wide
range of illnesses. Forest products are marketed principally in
the United States and western and eastern Europe. Marketing is
conducted by Forest and through independent distributors.

Most Recent Write-Up

FRX has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride yesterday and
today, setting a low of $105.75.  With that said, the stock still
has its sights set on Thursday's intraday high of $114.50,
breaking through resistance at the 10-dma of $108.16 and the
5-dma, currently $110.58.  FRX found its feet and rallied to $111
on a strong volume move shortly after the open.  The stock
encountered intraday resistance at this level until a break
through later in the afternoon.  With a $2.00 rally in the last
40 minutes today that pushed FRX to its day high, the play is
still intact as FRX continues to show bullish signs.  For
conservative traders, look for a move that convincingly drives
the stock through today's high of $112.94.  For those who are
feeling more aggressive, look for bounces off of the 5-dma of
$110.  With three key economic indicators coming out at the end
of the week which could re-ignite interest rate fears, make
sure the buyers are present to continue this uptrend with strong
volume.

Comments

Bucking the market trend once again, FRX continues to attract
buyers as investors flee the tech sector.  On Wednesday, FRX
trended steadily higher, finding intraday support at $112 on
three different occasions.  Entry into this play can be
obtained by watching to see if the stock can hold this short
term support level at $112.  Any strong volume bounces from
there would be good entry points.  A further pullback could
take FRX to the $109 - $110 level, near the 10-dma at $109.19.
Bounces from here would be attractive entries.  More
conservatively, a renewed, high volume move through $113.50 to
$114 would allow entry.

BUY CALL AUG-105 FRX-HA OI= 51 at $10.63 SL=8.25
BUY CALL AUG-110*FRX-HB OI= 57 at $ 7.13 SL=5.50
BUY CALL AUG-115 FRX-HC OI=340 at $ 4.38 SL=3.25
BUY CALL SEP-110 FRX-IB OI=  3 at $10.63 SL=8.25

SELL PUT AUG-105 FRX-TA OI= 39 at $ 1.88 SL=2.75 
(See risks of selling puts in play legend)

Picked on July 27th at  $113.50    P/E = 84.30
Change since picked       -0.44    52-week high=$114.25
Analysts Ratings      7-7-5-0-0    52-week low =$ 41.75
Last earnings 07/19   est= 0.27    actual= 0.31
Next earnings 10-19   est= 0.50    versus= 0.32
Average Daily Volume   =  695 K




*****************************************
BIG CAP COVERED CALLS & NAKED PUT SECTION
*****************************************

The Market Rotation Continues...

Industrial stocks rallied again today as investors transitioned
to a defensive posture amid fears of a slowdown in the economy.
A favorable housing report provided the market with a positive
outlook.  New home sales fell last month by 3.7% to 829,000, a
figure much lower than consensus estimates.  The slowing housing
demand surprised analysts by falling to its lowest level in more
than two years.  A recovery in bellwether issues helped the Dow
achieve recent highs with IBM and Hewlett-Packard leading the
blue-chip rally.  Today's bullish activity spilled over to the
slumping technology group with new buying interest emerging in
the Internet and semiconductor sectors.  The broader equity market
experienced heavy trading in oil and oil service shares in the
wake of an unexpected plunge in crude inventories, which boosted
oil prices.  Brokerage stocks moved higher along with major drug
and biotechnology issues.  Paper, Computer software and banking
stocks were generally lower.  While the stock market outlook is
difficult to assess, most analysts are very optimistic about the
future of the technology sector.  With the prices of many of the
leading issues approaching bargain levels, it may be time to begin
speculating on the companies that will dominate the "new economy"
in the coming years.

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

CALP    AUG    50    47.84   59.75   $2.16   6.0%
ITWO    AUG   115   109.00  119.56   $6.00   5.6%
VRTA    AUG    55    52.18   57.69   $2.82   4.4% Nearing support
AETH    AUG   155   149.25  152.28   $3.03   2.7% At support
GMST    AUG    60    56.06   55.50  -$0.56   0.0% At support
VSTR    AUG   135   127.25  123.06  -$4.19   0.0% Range bound
NTAP    AUG    90    85.44   76.94  -$8.50   0.0% Close?
AWRE    AUG    50    47.00   38.13  -$8.87   0.0% Close on rally?
ARTG    AUG   100    95.25   83.56 -$11.69   0.0% Ouch!

Note:  ARTG's move through its 50 dma on Monday was a logical
exit signal.  AWRE's move through its 150 dma last Friday is
another example.

Naked Puts:

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

CALP    AUG    45    43.88   59.75   $1.13  10.9%
VRTA    AUG    55    53.81   57.69   $1.19   9.6%
VRTA    AUG    50    48.38   57.69   $1.62   8.4%
GMST    AUG    50    48.87   55.50   $1.13   7.7%
TIBX    AUG    90    87.63  100.50   $2.37   7.5%
AMCC    AUG   120   118.31  128.88   $1.69   6.5% Filling the gap?
AETH    AUG   135   133.19  152.28   $1.81   6.3%
MACR    AUG    75    73.32   78.50   $1.68   6.2% Scary...
ITWO    AUG    95    93.31  119.56   $1.69   6.1%
MERQ    AUG    85    83.32   93.38   $1.68   5.8%
SAPE    AUG    85    83.56  120.81   $1.44   5.7%
VSTR    AUG   110   108.31  123.06   $1.69   5.6%
MERQ    AUG    80    78.87   93.38   $1.13   5.2%
NTAP    AUG    80    78.12   76.94  -$1.18   0.0% Time to exit?
ARTG    AUG    88    85.62   83.56  -$2.06   0.0% Free fall...
CLRN    AUG    45    43.50   40.00  -$3.50   0.0% Close?
AWRE    AUG    45    43.75   38.13  -$5.62   0.0% Close on rally?


Naked Calls:

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

MRVC    AUG   100   102.44   53.38   $2.44  19.4%
MUSE    AUG   195   196.31  120.75   $1.31   5.9%
HWP     AUG   150   151.00  112.50   $1.00   5.7%

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

***************

CALP - Caliper Technologies  $59.75  *** Favorable Judgment! ***

Caliper Technologies is engaged in the field of "lab-on-a-chip"
development.  They believe their Lab-Chip 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 in July 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  $59.75

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

Sell Call AUG 50   DQQ HJ  153      11.25    48.50     5.9% ***

Sell Put  AUG 45   DQQ TI  109       0.69    44.31    10.4% ***
Sell Put  AUG 50   DQQ TJ  106       1.69    48.31    20.3%

Chart =
 

******

ENE - Enron Corporation  $77.63  *** A Unique Company! ***

Enron Corp is an energy and communications company.  Enron is
engaged in the transportation of natural gas via pipeline to
U.S. markets, as well as the generation, transmission and
distribution of electricity to markets in the northwestern U.S..
Enron also markets natural gas, electricity and other commodities
and related risk management and finance services worldwide.
Enron additionally deals in the construction and operation of
power plants, pipelines and other energy related assets
worldwide, as well as the the development of an intelligent
network platform to provide bandwidth management services and
deliver high bandwidth applications.

Enron is a unique company, positioning itself as a broadband
network operator, a broker of bandwidth and a service provider.
Using its network of natural gas pipelines as a guide, Enron has
installed fiber lines for what it calls an "intelligent network
platform," that can provide bandwidth management services and
deliver high-bandwidth applications.  The company is on target
to have its initial network backbone platforms in place by the
end of the year.  The move into broadband networking and service
delivery is the new foundation for Enron's long-term approach to
success in the "new economy."

From a trend and momentum viewpoint, today's move suggests there
may be additional upside potential in the future of this issue
and a cost basis near technical support will suit us just fine.

ENE - Enron Corporation  $77.63

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

Sell Call AUG 75   ENE HO  7250      4.75    72.88     5.5% ***

Sell Put  AUG 75   ENE TO  3118      1.88    73.12    11.8% ***

Chart =
 

******

IDPH - Idec Pharma  $134.44  *** New Trading Range? ***

IDEC Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company engaged
in the research, development and commercialization of targeted
therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune and
inflammatory diseases.  Their initial commercial product,
Rituxan, and its most advanced product candidate, Zevalin are
used in the treatment of certain B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.
They are also researching drugs for the treatment of various
other diseases (such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and
lupus).

Idec is one of the leading companies in this volatile industry
and among institutional Bio-tech investors, it is also one of
the top portfolio holdings.  Technically, the issue is showing
increasingly bullish strength and today's move above the July
(and late March) high on good volume suggests a new trading
range is being established.  We favor the support provided by
the recent consolidation near $120 and the bullish technical
outlook.

IDPH - Idec Pharma  $134.44

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

Sell Call AUG 120  IDK HD  380      17.50   116.94     5.0% ***
Sell Call AUG 125  IDK HE  704      14.38   120.06     7.8%

Sell Put  AUG 110  IDK TB  55        1.50   108.50     9.2% ***
Sell Put  AUG 115  IDK TC  183       2.06   112.94    10.8%
Sell Put  AUG 120  IDK TD  47        3.25   116.75    14.5%
Sell Put  AUG 125  IDK TE  101       4.88   120.12    18.8%

Chart =
 

******

SAPE - Sapient Corporation  $120.81  *** Big Rally! ***

Sapient is an e-services consultancy providing Internet strategy
consulting and sophisticated Internet-based solutions to Global
1000 companies and startup businesses.  They helps their clients
define Internet strategies to improve their competitive position.
Sapient designs, develops and implements solutions to execute
those strategies.  Their services include digital business
strategy development; experience modeling; creative design;
technology development and systems integration.

Analysts are bullish on Sapient and today shares of the volatile
issue surged $16 after the company reported better-than-expected
quarterly results and set a two-for-one stock split.  Officials
said the company earned $0.23 per share.  Wall Street analysts
had expected the company to earn only $0.20 per share.  Deutsche
Banc Alex. Brown analyst Mark D'Annolfo reiterated his "strong
buy" rating on the stock and raised his 2000 revenue estimates.
PaineWebber analyst Andrew Burns suggested that the sequential
growth acceleration in e-services indicates enormous demand for
the company's products.  SAPE officials also set a two-for-one
split of its common stock, payable August 28 to shareholders of
record August 14, 2000.

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

SAPE - Sapient  $120.81

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

Sell Put  AUG 95   SUJ TS  83        1.88    93.12    13.7% ***
Sell Put  AUG 100  SUJ TT  345       2.38    97.62    15.1%

Chart =
 

******

SEBL - Siebel Systems  $150.13  *** On The Rebound! ***

Siebel Systems is a provider of eBusiness applications.  Siebel
eBusiness Applications enable organizations to market to and
service their customers across multiple channels, including the
Internet, resellers, retail, and dealer networks.  They are
available in industry-specific versions designed for the
pharmaceutical, healthcare, consumer goods, telecommunications,
insurance, energy, and many other markets.

Siebel has received considerable attention from analysts in the
past few months, with several initiations of coverage at the
"Strong Buy" level in May and June, and a mid-July initiation at
a "Buy" rating by Robinson Humphrey.  The bullish reports came
after Siebel's second quarter earnings announcements, showing a
revenue increase from $319 million during the first half of last
year, to just under $700 million for the comparable period this
year.  The increase in revenues bodes well for the future of the
company and we agree with the optimistic outlook.

SEBL - Siebel Systems  $150.13

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

Sell Put  AUG 115  SGW TC  618       1.06   113.94     6.5% ***
Sell Put  AUG 120  SGW TD  897       1.56   118.44     9.4%

Chart =
 

******

TUTS - Tuts Systems  $86.63  *** Own This One! ***

Tut Systems develops and markets advanced communications products
that enable high-speed data access over the copper infrastructure
of telephone companies, as well as the copper telephone wires in
homes and businesses. Their products incorporate high-bandwidth
access multiplexers, associated modems and routers, Ethernet
extension products and integrated network management software.

This company is one of our favorites for long-term portfolios
and the recent demand for communications equipment providers
has boosted this bullish issue out of a previous trading range.
The sector trend is favorable and we offer this position as a
method of entry for the slightly over-extended stock price.  A
reasonable cost basis exists near the previous resistance area
at $60-$65.

TUTS - Tuts Systems  $86.63

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

Sell Put  AUG 65   QSS TM  5         0.50    64.50     5.3%
Sell Put  AUG 70   QSS TN  42        1.19    68.81    11.8% ***
Sell Put  AUG 75   QSS TO  66        2.31    72.69    17.3%

Chart =
 

***************

BEARISH PLAYS - Naked Calls

***************

RBAK - Redback Networks  $117.88  *** Technicals Only! ***

Redback Networks is a provider of advanced networking systems
that enable carriers, cable operators and service providers to
rapidly deploy high-speed access to the Internet and corporate
networks.  Their Subscriber Management System (SMS) connects and
manages large numbers of subscribers using any of the major high
speed access technologies including digital subscriber line,
cable and wireless.  Redback sells its products through a direct
sales force,resellers and distribution partners.

Since the recent sell-off in the technology group began, this
company's share value has fallen substantially.  Based on the
negative short-term outlook, we are going to pursue a bearish
position with a conservative risk/reward perspective.  We will
use the current consolidation period to benefit from overpriced
option premiums.  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.

RBAK - Redback Networks  $117.88

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

Sell Call AUG 150  BKK HJ  1138      1.56   151.56    11.8%
Sell Call AUG 155  BKK HK  168       1.13   156.13     8.7% ***
Sell Call AUG 160  BKK HL  328       0.81   160.81     6.3%

Chart =
 

*************


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