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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 09/20/2000

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The Option Investor Newsletter               Wednesday  09-20-2000
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
******************************************************************
        09-20-2000        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10687.90 -101.40 10824.10 10567.30 1.12 bln   1144/1651
NASDAQ   3897.44 + 31.80  3913.87  3795.08 1.80 bln   1653/2360
S&P 100   782.55 -  5.22   788.58   771.45   totals   2797/4011
S&P 500  1451.34 -  8.56  1460.49  1430.95           41.1%/58.9%
RUS 2000  521.43 -  1.88   523.55   518.21
DJ TRANS 2591.45 - 14.16  2604.57  2556.21
VIX        22.77 +  0.66    24.34    21.98
Put/Call Ratio       .60
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A Taste of Volatility

Those 100 point days are back as the markets anticipate the month
of October.  Can you believe it?  And where did that massive
bounce come from?  Was there some sort of good news that I missed
around 1:30pm EDT?  While the bounce wasn't attributable to
anything in particular, it certainly was impressive to watch.  At
best, today's trading session offered confusion and mixed signals
for investors.  An earnings warning from Sprint(FON) sparked more
selling, along with macro-concerns over oil prices and the weak
Euro.  Yet, even with all of this looming over the market, the
indices managed recoveries of heroic proportions.

Well, that was one heck of a bounce on the NASDAQ.  Shaking off
analyst talk about a retest of the Summer lows, sellers were
overcome today after what appeared to be a steady, intraday
victory for the shorts.  After Tuesday's 139 point gain, we were
waiting to see if it was a dead-cat bounce or a reversal of
fortunes.  In fact, this morning Ralph Bloch called yesterday's
action just that, a dead-cat.  And up until about 1:30pm EDT, it
looked like it.  But, something happened, something that we
haven't seen for a long, long time.  Volatility.  Remember that
stuff?  Right when the NASDAQ broke below 3800 and the shorts
appeared to have a strangle hold on it, the index made an about-
face and launched from 3795.  I mean launched!  Within 70 minutes,
the NASDAQ was over 3900.  So what happened?  Obviously, a failed
rally, possibly fueled by some short covering.  The index found
support near the 3800 level, which provided a bounce last week.
You can see by the chart below that the NASDAQ is at a point of
flux.  As the bulls and the bears battle it out, one thing
for certain is that volatility is back.  Just in time for October.




Could this be a reversal?  Will the summer lows go untested?  The
answer will lie in the next two days of trading.  We always talk
about how we need to see follow through after a day like Tuesday
to confirm the move.  Today, initially didn't have that.  But,
the finish appears to be very bullish.  Making an assumption from
the close today could be deceptive.  We will need to see what
tomorrow brings.  While the NASDAQ came back from -70 to finish
up 31.80 points, the advance-decline line remains concerning.
Even with today's positive finish, decliners outpaced advancers
24-17.  Volume was decent, coming in at 1.76 bln.  It closed just
above its 10-dma of 3895, while overcoming its 100-dma at 3842
intraday.  Driving the NASDAQ today was more upbeat comments
surrounding INTC.  After yesterday's somewhat shady upgrade from
Banc of America only a week after they downgraded it, Credit Suisse
First Boston analyst Charlie Galvin reiterated their Strong Buy on
INTC.  Intel added $2.69 on over double its ADV.

EBAY was another NASDAQ 100 stock that helped drive the market
higher.  Investors cheered EBAY after the company set a 5 year
revenue goal of $3 bln, implying a revenue growth rate of 50%
annually.  This projection is in part due to EBAY's effort to
expand its reach in the U.S. and overseas, as well as its range
of product categories.  The stock soared $10.88, almost 17%, and
very well may give EBAY the momentum with which it used to be so
familiar.  Another old Internet stock got a boost today.  YHOO
received a Buy reiteration from DLJ that drove the stock higher
by $1.63.  Although these stocks helped the NASDAQ, today's
trading session has once again introduced volatility, and also
caution.  The VIX.X was only up fractionally to 22.70, still very
low considering three straight days of triple digit ranges for
the tech index.  This isn't to say that we shouldn't trade, just
be cautious.  How can we not trade, especially when our best
friend volatility is starting to come around again.  There were
a handful of stocks that made fantastic moves today:  PDLI(+15.31),
BRCD(+12.69), GSPN(+11.44), and NTAP(+11.25).

Over on the NYSE, FON warned today that their 3rd quarter earnings
will come in around $0.45-$0.47, below the Street estimate of $0.49.
The company added that this is due to lower subscriber growth in
their wireless business PCS.  In an already weak telecom sector,
this news absolutely crushed the two stocks, with FON falling
almost 4% and PCS, the big winner on our put list, plunging $7.56
to $33.25, an 18% loss on the day!  This selling spread throughout
the sector: T(-3%), WCOM(-4%), SBC(-2.33%), and VZ(-3.79%).

On top of earning warnings is the growing concern over oil, as the
October crude futures closed above $37 a barrel for the first time
in a decade.  As inventories continue to shrink, the rising price
has become the culprit of many earnings' squeezes in some of the
old economy stocks.  These concerns have create a nervousness
amongst traders at the NYSE, and they have been selling the INDU
stocks as a result.  Not to mention, the Euro hitting another low
against the dollar.  Just another common culprit being heard at
the earnings confessional booth.  And the debate rages on about
whether it's a strong dollar problem or a weak Euro.  Regardless,
the fact is that companies are beginning to feel the effects of
the Fed's interest rate tightening policy of the past year.  FON's
warning today won't be the last high profile warning this quarter.
The squeeze is on.

As a result of all of these concerns, the INDU has broken down
dramatically.  I have included below a 60-minute chart of the
INDU with the same exact extended lines that I drew on last
Wednesday's chart.  The 11100 support line that the INDU was
holding broke the very next day.  Since then, it has been
down day after down day.  Nine of last ten INDU sessions have been
negative.  You can see that the drop in the INDU has been dramatic
as it accelerated away from the downtrend line that I drew last
week.  Most technically concerning is today's break of the 100-dma
that was the index's last technical support.  From here, the
Summer lows of 10500 might be next as the global concern over
oil and currencies grows.  Volatility has also crept back in the
INDU, with today's range spanning over 250 points!  I caught me
off guard to see on CNBC that the curbs were in.  We joked at the
office that we haven't seen those pop up in ages!  Yet, like the
NASDAQ, the INDU managed quite a midday recovery to pair its
losses, recouping 120 points from the low.  Once again, the next
two days will be very telling for the INDU.  Investors are not
finding a lot of reasons to buy given the looming fears in the
market.  Today we did see some bargain hunting, but as Art Kashin,
Director of NYSE Floor Operations for Prudential, said on CNBC,
the accelerating volume wasn't there on the bounce so it will
take a couple of days before a diagnosis can be made.  Leading
the index lower was:  HWP(-4.13), AA(-2.81), KO(-2.63), and
MMM(-2.13), another highlight on the put list.




Looking forward, I repeat, the next two days will be essential for
determining where we go next, and how much merit we can put into
today's broad market bounce.  We need to see confirmation in the
NASDAQ in order to call it a reversal.  The increase in price
volatility for both indices is just a precursor of what's to come
for October, historically one of the most volatile months.  Yet,
where there is volatility, there is opportunity for option traders.
Exercise caution and stick with stocks that provide relative
stability.  Many have been bucking the trend, like QCOM, SEBL,
PALM, and EMC to name a few.  Initial Jobless Claims will be
released tomorrow morning and traders may use the data to move the
markets one way or another.  Given the state of flux right now,
we will be watching the market closely for directional clues.
With markets changing direction on a dime and wild intraday swings,
trading requires a little extra attention...and some antacid, just
in time for October.

Matt Russ
Editor


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

Go On And Take The Money And Run.
By Eric Utley

Judging by the flood of e-mail I received last week, it's obvious
OI readers like to take profits.  And, rightfully so!  As the
faithful Ask the Analyst readers know, I presented a quiz last
week in an attempt to challenge OI traders.  For those of you
who didn't read Ask the Analyst last week - shame on you.  In
case you did accidentally miss my column last week, here's a
repeat of the question.

You've been watching the Telecom Equipment sector with bearish
eyes.  Ursa Modem Company (UMC) has been acting weak and you're
ready to claw into a put play.  You discover an analyst over at
Contradictory Brokers issued a big downgrade on UMC's main
competitor earlier in the day, which brought out the sector
sellers.  The bears teamed together to take UMC below its two-week
support level at $80.  The stock's losses are mounting and you
decide to buy 10 at-the-money puts near market close after UMC
falls below $79.  The next morning you discover the NASDAQ futures
down -50 points on a profit warning from a big Telecom carrier.
The news causes UMC to gap down by -$4, it then falls another -$2
after amateur hour expires, and then stabilizes during mid-day
trading.  Since you bought front-month puts with little time value
left, and the contracts were at-the-money with a delta near 50,
the options move with lightning speed and show you a one-day paper
gain of 200%.  What next?  Do you:

A)  Laugh all the way to the bank after selling your entire line

B)  Take half off the table and let the rest ride

C)  Hold tight

D)  Add to your position

Before we delve into discussion, let me make it perfectly clear
that there are no "right" nor "wrong" answers, only four
possibilities in our hypothetical trade.  And now, let's talk.
The majority of you that responded said you would choose
answer (A), to take the money and run.  Now, there's nothing
wrong with taking all your profits.  Or, is there?

One of our readers strayed from the crowd and provided a different
solution to our 200% gain problem.  Robert wrote, "I believe the
best answer lies somewhere between B) 'Take half off the table...'
and C) 'Hold tight'."  Let's examine the dynamics of what Robert
suggested.  In the hypothetical trade, you'd been watching the
Telecom Equipment sector with a bearish bias.  So, you acted on
your speculation with an almost immediate confirmation in the
form of a 200% gain on your short play on UMC.  The 200% gain
screams, "You were right".  Who's to say your put play on Ursa
Modem Company (UMC) won't show an even greater profit if you hold
longer?  Well, the market is the ONLY one that will tell when you
are right or wrong.  And, until the market shows you UMC has
stabilized or is ready to rebound, what is the harm in holding
onto your winning position?

By doing what Robert suggested, and taking a little off the table
(your initial investment) and holding tight (let your paper profits
run), you position the put play for even greater profits.  By
getting back your initial risk capital through the sale of a few
contracts, you in effect remove a great deal of emotion from your
position.  Robert said with perfection, "By taking your initial
investment back, one reduces the leverage of fear that otherwise
might spook you out of the trade on minor reversals, letting you
objectively watch the indicators to exit, maybe at a much better
point than you'd dare with the full trade."  I couldn't have
said it better, that's why I quoted Robert.

The immediate 200% gain in the short play gives immediate
confirmation that your speculation of weakness in the Telecom
sector was correct.  Remember, no major moves in the financial
markets take place in one day.  The extraordinary traders
that earn extraordinary gains always let their profits run,
and often add to their winning positions as choice (D)
suggested.  Is there a right answer to our 200% problem?  No.
Of course, we haven't taken into account a myriad variables
that would affect trading decisions.  However, letting profits
run is a fundamental rule that the best traders follow.  I
have a feeling that Robert falls into that camp.  Thank you,
Robert, for the input.

And now, let's move onto the best part of this column, your
requests.  But, before we do, one more piece of business.  We
are moving the Ask the Analyst column back to the Sunday
newsletter.  So, I'll see you again in about a week-and-a-half
with a new trading problem and a fresh batch of stock reviews.
In the meantime, I'd be happy to answer any questions or
entertain ideas about our trading problem.  Make sure to send
a few new stock requests to Contact Support
over the next week.  Don't forget to put the symbol of your
stock request in the subject line of the e-mail.

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

Waters Corp - WAT

Please comment on FBCE (Fibercore), and WAT (Waters Corp). -
Thanks, Vishal

I knew I could rely on Vishal for another great stock request.
I believe I reviewed WAT some time ago, but thought it
relevant, pertinent, and potentially profitable to take a look
at the stock again.  Behind Agilent, WAT is one of the largest
makers of Scientific Instruments.  The instruments that WAT's
makes are used mainly by Pharmaceutical and Biotech companies
for research and development.  With the ushering in of the
Human Genome project and, DNA research in general, WAT's profits
have grown faster than bacteria on a petri dish.  I think the
potential of the Biotech is just awesome.  The Biotech companies
are attempting to improve our quality of life and increase our
life-spans.  I don't know about you, but if 'it' improves and
lengthens my life, I'm buying.  How does that all relate to WAT?
Well, WAT will supply all the gadgets and instruments to the
Biotech companies building the drugs of the 21st Century.  WAT
also provides software and a host of services to the Biotech
sector.  So, obviously, WAT is dependent on the growth of the
Biotech sector.

WAT has the benefit of operating in a blossoming sector of the
economy, but, the company also has exceptional fundamentals.
Though, the stock is a bit pricey relative to its past and
future earnings because of its big run this year, I think there
is plenty of upside left in WAT.  As long as WAT continues to
execute its business strategy as it has done in the past, the
stock should be a long-term winner.  In fact, I don't think it
unreasonable that WAT will greatly outperform the broader
markets over the next decade.  Spending in the Biotech sector
should only accelerate in the coming years as geneticists
decode the Human Genome with WAT's tools.  And because WAT has
been such a great performing stock this year, we're faced with
the recurring problem of finding a solid entry into the stock.
The stock has been consolidating for over two months now, and
might be ready to run to new highs in the near future.  All in
all, WAT is a great stock to hold for the next several years.




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

MRV Communications - MRVC

Please comment on MRVC.

MRVC is one of those banged-up Telecom Equipment makers that has
been punished by the bears recently.  The company is an
interesting firm, with operations in making both optical
components and Internet infrastructure equipment.  The company
competes with the likes of SDLI, BRCM, and VTSS.  All of which
have been great performing stocks this year.  About two years
ago, MRVC adopted a business model very similar to what CMGI does.
In essence, MRVC creates and manages a diverse group of businesses
within the Communications sector.  And like CMGI, MRVC sometimes
spins-off its business units with an IPO.  One of MRVC's upcoming
IPOs has already attracted a lot of attention.  MRVC will spin off
its Luminent unit, which makes fiber optic components.  The IPO
price for Luminent has been estimated to be roughly $15 a share.
What's interesting is that in the recent and very similar IPOs of
Corvis (CORV) and Avici Systems (AVCI) both stocks enjoyed
incredible first-day pops.  Now, the landscape in the Telecom
sector has changed since CORV and AVCI went public.  Nonetheless,
MRVC's IPO of Luminent might give the former a nice pop; MRVC will
retain 92% ownership in Luminent after the IPO.

While the IPO of Luminent might give MRVC a boost in the near-term,
the bigger issue remains the overall health and direction of the
broader Telecom sector.  The snowball began rolling several weeks
ago when a couple of big Telecom carriers told analysts spending on
equipment would slow.  Since that time, the snowball has been
building and gaining downhill momentum.  However, the fact
remains that North America's communication systems are archaic,
and in desperate need of upgrades and repairs in order for the
Internet to flourish.  Companies such as MRVC are the ones who are
trying to build a better communications system, which in the long
run makes the stock a big winner.  However, you will have to
stomach the periods of capital spending volatility, like we are
currently experiencing, if you're going to hold stocks like MRVC
for the long-term.  I like MRVC's business model, I like the fact
that the company operates in a dynamic and growing sector of the
economy.  With that said, I think MRVC is a great stock to hold
onto for several years.  But, in the meantime, bullish traders
might want to stay out of the dicey Telecom sector.




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

Extreme Networks - EXTR

Your astute opinion about EXTR.  Have made a few nice plays within
the last month or so and am currently playing OCT call options.
Your opinion is greatly appreciated. - Thanks, Trader J

Please advise what are the reasons behind EXTR strength and the
steady rise. - Regards, Sunil

Despite the poor performance of the NASDAQ, EXTR is trading at an
all-time high.  How do we explain that?  Well, let's take a look
at a few recent EXTR developments that have taken place over the
past month.  In the beginning of August, EXTR said it would add
a Layer 7 application to its broadband network solutions.  What's
a Layer 7 switch?  I don't know.  But, I do know it is a new
product added to EXTR's deep pipeline of network offerings.  New
products can be big drivers of stock prices.  Then, about three
weeks ago, Chase H&Q reiterated its Buy rating on EXTR, citing the
company's expansion of its sales force and its winning of key
contracts.  A few days thereafter, CIBC World Markets initiated
coverage on EXTR with a Buy rating.  And today, Salomon Smith
Barney raised its price target to $155.  As a result, EXTR to a
new 52-week high.  So, I think it's safe to say that the
company is going to have a blowout quarter when it reports profits
a month from now.  Because of its new Layer 7 product, because of
its already superior product line, because of its successful
sales force, and because of what the market has been telling us
over the past three weeks, EXTR will blow away estimates later in
October.  The question is whether or not the market is done taking
EXTR higher.  Now, I find it extremely bullish that EXTR is
trading at its 52-week high given the NASDAQ has shed 8% in
September.  That tells us traders are willing to pay up for EXTR
no matter the direction in the broader Tech sector.

We know something is going on with EXTR, and the stock is acting
as if it wants to go higher.  But, we again face the dilemma of
finding a prudent pivot point with which to gain entry into the
stock.  The breakout above $100 yesterday would have provided a
solid entry into EXTR especially with its market bucking rally.
But, after today's sprint, entry points look hard to come by.
I think EXTR goes higher, especially once the NASDAQ decidedly
turns around.  But, you're going to have to work hard for a
good entry point.  I'll review a few possibilities on the
chart below.



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

Sycamore Networks - SCMR

SCMR has been down for over three weeks from a high of over 170
to now about 110.  I felt that the stock is way oversold and if
I buy front month calls now it will have a decent chance to
double in the next two to three weeks.  Your advice? - Michael

Could you give me your thought on SCMR for short-term (3 months).
It has been falling like a rock after their earnings which beat
the estimates.  Do you see a recovery to 140's, given their sector
has been a bit sluggish in the last week or two. - Thank you,
Sinan

It sounds like both of you, Michael and Sinan, are looking to buy
SCMR in hopes of a rebound.  I don't know if that's the best bet
right now given the weakness in the Telecom sector.  Besides, you
both probably know how I feel about buying stocks on the way down.
If you don't know, I don't like buying low.  But, I'll put aside
my biases and try to give you an objective SCMR review.  First
off, know that SCMR is still on the OI put list.  The staff here
at OI are still bearish on SCMR, and I think its for good reason.
While SCMR did beat EPS estimates, like you mentioned Sinan, the
company fell well short on its deferred revenue projections.
Deferred revenues can be a telling measure of a company's growth.
Since SCMR missed the target, they got hammered by sellers.  On
top of their company specific problems, SCMR fell under
additional pressure in the form of sector weakness, which
resulted from the news of a slowdown in capital spending by the
Telecom Carriers.  Because of SCMR's high valuation and the
problems within its sector, traders have been more than willing
to sell the stock lower.

Because of its plummeting action, I don't know if buying front
month calls is the most prudent strategy, Michael.  However, I
don't think it's unreasonable to believe that SCMR will be back
to $140 by year's end, but it might take the full three-months
remaining to do so.  Before jumping in for a trade to the
upside, I think it would be wise to wait for SCMR to find
bottom, which I don't think it has done just yet.  There are
still a lot of shorts in the stock, who are willing to defend
their positions and take SCMR lower.




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

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.


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

Idiot's Guide To Technical Chart Study
By Austin Passamonte

Is that title already taken? It's about the only one I'd feel
comfortable writing. Believe you me, this is a subject that
can soar right over my head real easy.

For over ten years I've been an avid reader of "Technical
Analysis of Stocks & Commodities" magazine. This is a real
gem for traders (available on big newsstands) but certainly
a lesson in humility each and every time I open the pages.

There are contributing writers in there who concoct formulas
to tweak up super-indicators that were never taught in any
schools I happened past. I'm not so sure a few of them don't
solve pi on their way to market forecasting.

If that's your bag, I might suggest you consider hitting the
"back" button right now for fear of my insulting you. On the
other hand, if you like to use a basic approach to trading
the markets, maybe we can help shed some insight.

Speaking of MENSA-mathematics types, long ago I attended a
trading seminar hosted by the legendary stock and commodity
trader Larry Williams. By his own admission, he's simplistic
a trader as they come. Successful too.

For those not familiar with Larry, he entered the Robbins
Cup trading contest using real money taking actual trades on
S&P 500 and bonds futures contracts. Beginning with $10,000 in
the year-long contest, he handily won the public event with an
ending balance just a bit over $1.1 million. You did read that
correct. Not a bad run, would you agree?

So here we are in a seminar with Larry and he's telling us
about looking for divergence in the daily and weekly charts.
I'm trying to scribble notes furiously and this guy behind me
with a very annoying voice keeps interrupting him. "What do you
consider that pattern to be, type one or type two" our questioner
asked. "What formulas or statistical guidelines do you use to
analyze such price action?; Would you say those signals are
concave, convex, converse, etc?"

Larry is without ego and possesses the patience of job, personal
traits most welcome in a public speaker (or anyone, for that
matter). He calmly ended the irksome interruption by stating that
market divergence is easy to quantify: whenever price action does
something unexpected or opposite chart signals it is signaling a
pending reversal. Plain & simple as that.

This sound advice has served me well here ever aft. When markets
do something opposite what's expected, change is upon us.

Last Thursday's PPI reaction was a prime example. Benign values
are announced and the markets fail to rally. Sell-off time!
Soon as I saw that it was time to load up on puts and wait for
the roll. We weren't kept waiting very long.

Technical divergence is an even better study in my opinion. It
just might be the very best leading indicator for any symbol or
market we can use. Certainly offers that service to me.

We'll look at some customary charts in a minute to shed insight
on what to look for but first let me invite you into the OIN
"Traders Corner" archives under the Education header in the
front page of this site. Open up our August 30th article on
"Stochastics," and roll down to the daily chart of SMH semi-
conductor HOLDRs and the NDX below it.

We outlined bearish price action/stochastic action in the SMH
chart and warned of pending market failure. The same thing was
pointed out a week prior in some "Sector Trader" stand ins we
tried to fill Buzz Lynn's shoes with.

At the time this index was soaring near the 100 range as INTC
was posting all-time highs and pulling the sector with it.
However, chart signals told a different story. Had we simply
bought the SMH October 95 put when prices were testing the 100
range we could have picked off a chunk of the 5 - 12.5 price
range from high to low it traded through.

The best part is we could have leisurely entered a long-put
play, put-debit spread or call credit-spread over the course
of several sessions with powerful market forecasting well in
front of this inevitable slide.

Now looking into the future, do we see any other examples on
the horizon that may be of interest to us? Why, I'm so glad
you asked!




We personally rode QQQ puts to glory during expiration week as
the media people stood in shock over the recent sell off. See
the daily stochastic lines plunge from overbought to oversold?
Simply playing their direction between extreme values several
times a year is enough to make any of us very happy traders.

However, note the lower stochastic lows while correlating price
action held considerably higher-lows than the end of July's spike.
This tells us that NDX is oversold to a greater relative degree
right now based on stochastic value than it was back in July.
And it sits much higher today than then. Where might prices go
when stochastic lines turn up out of extreme oversold and make
the round trip again?

Don't look now but I think the slow stochastic bar is peeking
its head above the 20% extreme line. Could it be planning the
next trip up this chart? The SEC forbids me to tell you I'm
loaded with QQQ puts but I can tell you I maxed out my account
this afternoon about 2:30pm with a position well in the black
I feel real good about from here!




Same story - different symbol. May's surprise rally should have
surprised no one adept at spotting divergence. The market makes
lower-lows, stochastics make higher-lows. What kind of divergence
is this called? Beats me but I bought OEX calls regardless!




Oil, oil, oil. That's quickly replaced the Fed - fear wall of
worry. Oil stocks have soared to new recent highs even as they
tanked our post-Labor day rally. Are they overdone?

Not according to the media who were calling for oil well above
$40 per barrel just a few days ago. Here's what the AMEX XOI
oil index had to say;

Higher-high price action but lower-high stochastic value. Had
we seen this in the same chart before? What happened then?

The XOI November 520 put was trading @ 5.88 "ask" with the
index peaking out around the 550 area. I haven't priced it
today but expect it might be somewhat more valuable now. Even
in this illiquid market (no pun, I'm serious) we can buy at
ask, sell at bid and profit from such large moves over time.

Look at daily stochastics... think this index has reached a
near-term bottom yet?

For those who've asked I know of no books that cover this
topic in detail, although I'm sure some exist. Rest assured
we will cover these topics and much, much more in the very
near future.

See you soon & best trading wishes,

austinp@OptionInvestor.com


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

QCOM - Qualcomm $75.03 -2.47 (+8.78 this week)

Qualcomm develops and manufactures communications technologies
and products.  It's best known for its CDMA (code division
multiple access) technology which is the industry standard for
mobile communications.  This technology is used in cellular
phones, wireless telephone system equipment, and satellite
ground stations.  In addition, Qualcomm provides the trucking
industry with a monitoring system call OnmiTRACS and is
currently in a joint venture to develop a low-earth-orbit
satellite communication system called Globalstar.  They are also
the #2 supplier of digital cell phones following Nokia.

Most Recent Write-Up

Our timing was on the money!  QCOM's depressed share price enticed
the bargain hunters!  Shares of QCOM soared as investors took
another chance on Qualcomm's CDMA technology.  Friday's gains
extended into Monday after Mark  Roberts at First Union
Securities gave QCOM a boost.  He upped his recommendation on the
stock to a Strong Buy from Buy and commented on upcoming news
events.  Recall QCOM broke free from the mighty shackles at $65
after money manager, Graham Tanaka, predicted a strong comeback
for QCOM last week.  The powerful momentum easily cracked the
first line of opposition at the 100-dma ($71.08). The volume
blazed on again today as QCOM propelled upward towards the $80
objective.  If the trading activity continues to reach two or
three times the ADV on the uptake, then this resistance level
shouldn't be too difficult to overcome.  Still be aware that QCOM
hasn't seen the upside of $80 since early June.  Support is solid
at the 10-dma ($64.73), but pullbacks to the 5-dma ($68.03) are
more likely if QCOM retraces.  Also consider entries on high-
volume moves off $75 and the current level.

Comments

QCOM has re-emerged as a Tech favorite among market participants.
The stock broke from a three-month long base near the $60 level
early last week, and has since hurdled several key resistance
areas.  Today, QCOM took a break from its recent run and pulled
back on typical profit taking volume, which might present
favorable entry into the play.  Aggressive traders might look for
entry points around QCOM's pattern of higher relative lows,
including the current $75 level and just below near $73.  The
more conservative traders might look to buy into strength as
QCOM climbs past the $77 level or rallies through its near-term
high at $78.75.

BUY CALL OCT-70 AAO-JN OI=27033 at $ 8.88 SL=6.25
BUY CALL OCT-75*AAF-JO OI=13161 at $ 6.13 SL=4.00
BUY CALL OCT-80 AAF-JP OI=12382 at $ 4.00 SL=2.50
BUY CALL JAN-75 AAF-AO OI= 3281 at $13.00 SL=9.75
BUY CALL JAN-80 AAF-AP OI= 6763 at $10.88 SL=8.25

Picked on Sep 17th at    $66.25    P/E = 89
Change since picked       +8.78    52-week high=$200.00
Analysts Ratings     8-10-4-0-0    52-week low =$ 45.13
Last earnings 06/00   est= 0.27    actual= 0.27
Next earnings 11-02   est= 0.24    versus= 0.23
Average Daily Volume = 15.0 mln



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

Anybody seasick yet? Oil up, Euro down, and waves all around!

Industrial stocks slid lower today amid increasing oil prices, a
faltering European currency and continued profit warnings.  The
session started poorly for old economy issues as crude futures
returned to the $37 range after the American Petroleum Institute
reported that oil inventories fell lower than expected last month.
Higher energy costs are one of the primary reasons for declining
profits in industrial companies and concerns of further increases
in oil prices are weighing heavily on the market.  In addition,
the weakening euro has reduced revenues for many of the companies
that participate in overseas markets and the unwelcome trend is
expected to continue.  The heaviest losses on the Dow were seen
in shares of American Express (AXP), AT&T (T), Coca-Cola (KO),
Honeywell (HON), and United Technologies (UTX).  The finance group
was one of the few bright spots with Lehman Brothers (LEH) and
Goldman Sachs (GS) both enjoying early rallies after announcing
favorable quarterly results.  On the Nasdaq, technology shares
recovered from morning losses amid strength in Internet issues
and biotech stocks.  At the same time, semiconductor companies
consolidated from recent gains and the telecom sector sagged on
news of falling revenues at Sprint (FON).  Sprint said its third
quarter profits will come in below expectations and that growth is
slowing in its PCS subscriber base.  In the broader market, oil
service issues moved higher after the news of declining reserves
but utility shares continued to slump.  With little impetus for a
near-term rally, we will continue to focus on companies with
favorable valuations and superior technical indications.


Summary of Previous Picks:

NOTE:  September prices as of Friday's Expiration

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

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

METHA   SEP    45    41.50  52.63    $3.50   8.6%
PHCM    SEP    85    78.25  88.56    $6.75   7.1%
ADBE    SEP   115   109.68 132.63    $5.32   6.4%
SMTC    SEP    80    75.43 100.63    $4.57   6.1% 2-1 Split 9/26
MANU    SEP    70    67.81  90.13    $2.19   6.1%
BLDP    SEP   105   103.18 111.00    $1.82   6.0%
MIPSB   SEP    45    43.25  47.75    $1.75   5.4%
MIPS    SEP    45    42.88  53.44    $2.12   5.0%
ARTG    SEP    90    87.63  89.81    $2.18   4.7%
NAVI    SEP    45    42.87  42.50   -$0.37   0.0%
ORCL    SEP    85    82.75  78.31   -$4.44   0.0%

NMSS    OCT    65    59.75  73.00    $5.25   6.1%
OSIP    OCT    45    42.06  65.44    $2.94   5.7%
ALXN    OCT    85    80.25 109.00    $4.75   4.9%

Naked Puts:

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

ITWO    SEP   160   159.06 172.19    $0.94  24.8%
JNPR    SEP   175   174.19 201.69    $0.81  21.8%
MANU    SEP    65    63.56  90.13    $1.44  14.7%
MANU    SEP    70    69.19  90.13    $0.81  14.5%
MIPSB   SEP    45    43.37  47.75    $1.63  14.2%
METHA   SEP    40    38.37  52.63    $1.63  14.0%
INFA    SEP    85    83.50  99.94    $1.50  10.8%
ARTG    SEP    85    83.63  89.81    $1.38  10.4%
TUTS    SEP    85    83.19  87.50    $1.81  10.0%
MIPS    SEP    40    38.87  53.44    $1.13   9.9%
BOBJ    SEP    95    93.31 104.88    $1.69   9.9%
ADBE    SEP   105   102.75 132.63    $2.25   9.4%
INFA    SEP    90    89.19  99.94    $0.81   9.1%
VRTX    SEP    58    56.44  80.38    $1.06   9.0% Adj 2-1 split
NAVI    SEP    40    39.00  42.50    $1.00   8.9%
QLGC    SEP    85    83.50  93.38    $1.50   8.7%
EMLX    SEP    55    53.75  99.00    $1.25   7.9%
SMTC    SEP    70    68.62 100.63    $1.38   6.9% 2-1 Split 9/26
MMCN    SEP    55    53.94 106.06    $1.06   6.7%
MXIM    SEP    65    63.75  76.31    $1.25   6.6%
INKT    SEP   100    98.62 120.50    $1.38   6.3%
PHCM    SEP    65    63.50  88.56    $1.50   6.2%
MERQ    SEP   100    99.00 124.50    $1.00   6.2%
BLDP    SEP   100    99.44 111.00    $0.56   5.5%
ORCL    SEP    80    79.06  78.31   -$0.75   0.0%

ALXN    OCT    80    76.75 109.00    $3.25  11.4%
OSIP    OCT    40    38.56  65.44    $1.44  10.0%
METHA   OCT    45    43.06  53.00    $1.94   9.7%
NMSS    OCT    55    53.00  73.00    $2.00   8.4%
AVNX    OCT   115   111.50 130.25    $3.50   7.2%
RMBS    OCT    60    58.50  82.50    $1.50   6.7%
RIMM    OCT    60    58.37  78.69    $1.63   6.4%
PALM    OCT    40    39.12  54.50    $0.88   6.1%


Naked Calls:

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

SNWL    SEP   100   101.31  60.00    $1.31  10.8% 2-1 Split 9/18
LSCC    SEP    80    81.00  61.31    $1.00   8.7%

TUTS    OCT   120   122.31  74.38    $2.31   9.8%


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.  (We monitor the positions marked with ***).

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

BULLISH PLAYS - Naked Put Extravaganza!

***************
AGIL - Agile Software  $81.06  *** Hot Sector! ***

Agile Software develops and markets collaborative manufacturing
commerce solutions that speed the build and buy process across
the virtual manufacturing network.  Agile's solutions manage
product content and critical communication, collaboration and
commerce transactions among original equipment manufacturers,
electronic manufacturing services providers, customers and other
suppliers in real-time.  The company's offerings are well suited
for participants connected in outsourced supply chains, as well
as those managing multi-site engineering, manufacturing, sales
and distribution via the Internet.

Business-to-business stocks were "on the move" Tuesday, thanks
to the rally in technology issues, an Oracle (ORCL) upgrade and
new industry optimism ahead of a host of company conferences.
The bullish activity continued in today's session as investors
searched the Internet E-commerce sector for additional bargains.
Agilent is one of the top companies in the group and the issue's
most recent rally began in late August when U.S. Bancorp Piper
Jaffray Senior Business-to-Business e-Commerce Analyst Timothy M.
Klein initiated new coverage on the company with a "buy" rating.
Agile Software provides Web-based collaboration applications that
help OEMs communicate manufacturing change orders with contract
manufactures, suppliers and internal engineers and Klein believes
that Agile is one of the top companies addressing opportunities
within the collaborative-enterprise-solutions market.  Expansion
in that niche sector is fueling growth in business-to-business
eCommerce and strong industry fundamentals along with the trend
toward increased outsourced manufacturing and shorter product
lifecycles will directly benefit Agile's future prospects.  In
addition, the company has industry-leading technology, solid
fundamentals and promising revenue potential.

We simply favor the recent bullish technicals and the opportunity
to speculate on the future movement of the issue in a conservative
manner.

AGIL - Agile Software  $81.06

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

Sell Put  OCT 60   AUG VL  31        1.44    58.56     8.3% ***
Sell Put  OCT 62.5 AUG VZ  10        1.81    60.69    10.2%
Sell Put  OCT 65   AUG VM  30        2.38    62.62    12.9%



******

BLDP - Ballard Power Systems  $111.44  *** Hot Sector! ***

Ballard Power Systems is developing proton exchange membrane
(PEM) fuel cells and fuel cell systems.  A fuel cell is an
environmentally clean power generator that combines hydrogen fuel
with oxygen, without combustion, to produce electricity, with
pure water and heat as the only by-products. It produces power
efficiently and continuously, as long as fuel is supplied.
Ballard is developing their PEM fuel cells for use in
transportation, stationary power generation and portable
applications.

The fuel-cell sector is rallying again as investors realize that
with crude oil prices on the rise, the futuristic technology is
becoming much more attractive.  Fuel cells are a low polluting,
energy generating technology that can be used in a wide range of
industries with various practical applications such as powering
automobiles or replacing cell phone batteries.  Their potential
is enormous with supplies of oil falling and the cost of finding
new energy sources rising.  Since they use a chemical process to
generate power without burning, and contain no moving parts, the
unique products are efficient and reliable while emitting few
impurities.  In addition, fuel-cell technology offers potential
in third-world countries as it can be utilized in constructing
power grids with low installation costs in remote areas.

Investor interest in fuel-cell developers is growing and Ballard
Power is a leader in all of the primary technologies.  Ballard's
strong points include sound management and a solid customer base
along with established relationships with many of the potential
end-users in the industry.  The recent rally above technical
resistance was further supported last week after the issue was
upgraded by CS First Boston to a "strong buy" and the long-term
up-trend appears to be firmly established.  After a brief bout
with profit-taking, the issue is "on the move" again!

The stock has excellent buying support near our cost basis and
the favorable option premiums will allow us to speculate, in a
conservative manner, on the future movement of the issue.

BLDP - Ballard Power Systems  $111.44

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

Sell Put  OCT 90   DFQ VR  72        1.50    88.50     6.2% ***
Sell Put  OCT 95   DFQ VS  123       2.44    92.56     8.1%



******

EXTR - Extreme Networks  $110.25  *** Post-Split Rally? ***

Extreme Networks is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale
of high performance networking products based on Gigabit Ethernet
technology.  They provide end-to-end switching solutions that
meet the requirements of enterprise LANs, ISPs and content
providers. Their Summit and BlackDiamond switches share a common
ASIC, software and management architecture that facilitates a
relatively short product design and development cycle, thereby
reducing the time-to-market for new products and features.

Extreme reached a new, all-time high today and was very active
during the session after Salomon Smith Barney raised its rating
on the telecommunications equipment maker.  Analyst B. Alexander
Henderson upped his 12-month price expectation for Extreme to
$155, a 50% rise from current levels, based on a number of key
factors.  In a research note, Henderson said he expects the
company to deliver another exceptional quarter with financial
results well ahead of forecasts.  In addition, he also expects
margins to improve as revenues grow faster than expenses.  New
product launches for October are on schedule and additional hires
in the current quarter will provide potential for future growth.
EXTR has received a number of other bullish ratings from several
analysts, including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Lehman Bros.

With this proliferation of positive analyst's opinions, the stock
has climbed impressively above a recent trading range, ending at
a new, all-time high near $110.  The current technical outlook is
favorable and our conservative position offers a great way to
participate in the volatile issue with relatively low risk.

EXTR - Extreme Networks  $110.25

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

Sell Put  OCT 82.5 EXR VX  8         1.44    81.06     6.2% ***
Sell Put  OCT 85   EXR VQ  167       1.94    83.06     8.2%
Sell Put  OCT 87.5 EXR VY  68        2.31    85.19     9.6%



******

NTAP - Network Appliance  $141.13  ** On The Move! ***

Network Appliance designs, manufactures, and markets high
performance network attached data storage and access devices
which provide fast, reliable and cost-effective file service and
content delivery solutions for data-intensive networks.  They
pioneered the concept of the network appliance, an extension of
the industry trend toward specialized devices that perform
a specific function in the network, similar to the development of
the router for network communications.  Their Internet caching
solutions (NetCache appliances) and file servers deliver fast,
cost-effective access to network-stored data and allow shared
file services for UNIX, Windows NT, and the Internet.

Network Appliance rallied this week in the wake of bullish
comments by tech stock guru George Gilder.  At the Gilder/Forbes
Telecosm Conference on Friday, Gilder made some extremely positive
remarks concerning the company, and NTAP's share value has moved
substantially higher in subsequent sessions.  NTAP is undoubtedly
a leader in its industry but Gilder's selection of a particular
issue often translates into tradable rallies as investors follow
what's commonly known as "The Gilder Affect."  Gilder publishes a
monthly newsletter that focuses on companies whose technologies
could transform the information economy.  Strangely enough, the
shares of companies featured in the newsletter are often observed
to rally significantly the day the report is released.  In this
case, his outlook certainly had some effect but we also believe
in the company's fundamental future.

Our target position is a conservatively optimistic entry point
with little downside potential and a favorable risk/reward ratio.

NTAP - Network Appliance  $141.13

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

Sell Put  OCT 110  ULM VB  446       1.56   108.44     5.3%
Sell Put  OCT 115  ULM VC  364       2.19   112.81     6.8% ***
Sell Put  OCT 120  ULM VD  343       3.38   116.63     8.8%
Sell Put  OCT 125  ULM VE  179       4.50   120.50    10.2%



******

PDLI - Protein Design Labs  $117.06  *** Sector Leader! ***

Protein Design Labs, a member of the S&P 600 Small Cap Index, is
a leader in the development of humanized monoclonal antibodies
for the prevention and treatment of disease.  They have licensed
rights to their first humanized antibody product, Zenapax
(daclizumab) to Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. and its affiliates, which
markets it in the U.S., Europe and other countries for the
prevention of kidney transplant rejection. They have seven other
humanized antibodies in clinical development for autoimmune and
inflammatory conditions, transplantation and cancer.

Protein Design has been "on the move" after announcing earlier
this month it will adapt a murine antibody for human use under
an agreement with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly (LLY).  Lilly
will develop it as a pharmaceutical product.  Protein Design
will be compensated by Lilly with a non-refundable upfront fee
of $1.7 million, milestone payments upon completion of specified
objectives, annual maintenance fees and royalties on sales of the
humanised antibody.  On Monday, the announcement was followed by
a second agreement with Lilly for another humanized antibody,
with terms similar to the first, except the upfront signing fee
for this agreement was $1.36 million.  Even as biotech stocks
slumped earlier in the week, PDLI managed to lead the group and
today the issue closed up $15 at $117, on almost twice its normal
volume.  We think that's a fairly good indication of its strength,
relative to other companies in the sector.

PDLI - Protein Design Labs  $117.06

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

Sell Put  OCT 72.5 RPV VV  0         1.63    70.87     6.6% ***
Sell Put  OCT 75   RPV VO  61        2.19    72.81     8.7%
Sell Put  OCT 77.5 RPV VW  0         2.38    75.12     9.4%



******

VRTS - Veritas  $136.94  *** An OIN Favorite! ***

Veritas is an independent supplier of storage management
software.  Their products help to improve the levels of control,
automation and manageability in computing environments. Their
products provide protection against data loss and corruption,
allow rapid recovery after disk or computer system failure,
enable IT managers to work efficiently with large numbers of
files, and make it possible to manage data distributed on large
networks without harming productivity or interrupting users.
Veritas develops and sells products for most popular operating
systems, including UNIX and Windows NT.

This company is simply one of our favorites for long-term stock
portfolios and the new demand for Application Software Providers
has boosted the bullish issue out of a previous trading range.
The fundamental outlook is very positive; revenues are expected
to grow substantially in the coming year and the company should
see higher share values in the future.  The current technical
trend is favorable and we offer this position as an entry point,
based on the chart indications.  Obviously, the issue is slightly
over-extended but a reasonable cost basis exists near the previous
resistance area at $110.

VRTS - Veritas  $136.94

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

Sell Put  OCT 105  VUQ VA  254       1.38   103.63     4.8%
Sell Put  OCT 110  VUQ VB  921       2.06   107.94     7.0% ***
Sell Put  OCT 115  VUQ VC  806       2.88   112.12     8.2%
Sell Put  OCT 120  VUQ VD  495       4.25   115.75    10.2%


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

BEARISH PLAYS - A Naked Call

***************
MRVC - MRV Communications  $56.50  *** Trading Range? ***

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.

A recent Barron's article, based primarily on the views of Mark
Roberts of Off Wall Street Consulting Group, did nothing to help
MRVC’s current bearish trend.  The company's share value has
fallen precipitously since reaching a new high in early September
and now it appears the issue is struggling in the wake of a major
downtrend.  Obviously, the company is fundamentally sound but the
technical picture is less than outstanding.  We will utilize the
current consolidation period and the overpriced option premiums to
profit from these relatively conservative, bearish positions.  The
probability of the share value reaching our target strike appears
rather low but there is always the possibility of a recovery rally
so monitor the issue daily for changes in technical character.

MRVC - MRV Communications  $56.50

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

Sell Call OCT 77.5 RVY JW  87        1.75    79.25    13.6%
Sell Call OCT 80   RVY JP  1330      1.50    81.50    11.9%
Sell Call OCT 82.5 RVY JX  253       1.25    83.75    10.1%
Sell Call OCT 85   RVY JQ  467       1.00    86.00     8.2% ***




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