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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 12/13/2000

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 12-13-2000
Copyright 2000, All rights reserved.                        1 of 1
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
        12-13-2000        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10794.40 + 26.10 10915.40 10772.50 1.19 bln   1374/1499
NASDAQ   2822.77 -109.00  3001.72  2814.13 2.04 bln   1599/2327
S&P 100   720.59 -  8.32   737.24   719.34   totals   2973/3826
S&P 500  1359.99 - 11.19  1385.82  1358.48           43.7%/56.3%
RUS 2000  469.91 -  7.85   480.91   469.29
DJ TRANS 2847.41 - 57.86  2918.81  2842.45
VIX        26.87 -  1.41    27.77    25.90
Put/Call Ratio      0.71

Not over until it is over!

The long awaited Supreme Court decision that provided the final
conclusion to the Florida results came after hours on Tuesday.
However there was no rush to the microphones by the candidates
and tersely worded statements like "we are examining the decision
in its entirety" provided a cautious backdrop to Wednesday's
trading. Traders ready to buy any good news rushed into the
market at the open but with the cautious comments from the pundits
about "wiggle room" and "withdraw not concede" the hope for a
conclusion is still just that, hope. Until Gore makes it official
and hopefully chooses the right words to avoid any further doubt
about direction, traders are still waiting to exhale. Rumors of
defecting electors and pressure being applied to cause two of
them to switch sides has caused yet another day of uncertainty.
The specter of even further and more divisive electioneering
coupled with yet another round of earnings warnings and downgrades
just proved too much for the fragile markets. The Nasdaq gapped
up to hit resistance at 3000 for the third time in three days
only to sell off on the earnings warnings -179 points to close
near the low of the day at 2822. Not a pretty picture! The Dow
gapped up +140 points at the open to break 10900 for the second
time this month only to fall back on the weak earnings, lingering
election uncertainty and repeated mention of "recession" through
out the day. The Dow closed just under the stiff 10800 resistance
again but maintained the two week up trend with a positive close.

The expected Bush bounce was bushwhacked as investors who raced
into the market at the open on what they thought was the final
conclusion found themselves surrounded by sellers as those who
were reacting to the qualifications in the press releases and
continued earnings warnings ran for safety. The big rumors today
continued to be impending tech warnings, real warnings and chip/
tech stock downgrades. Some of the big caps that analysts feel
are left to warn include Dell, IBM, SUNW, VRTS and even CSCO. The
continuing confession session may be turning into a recession
watch according to many analysts. First Call said today that the
long term profit growth for the S&P has been around +7% but the
current estimates are now only +6% and under several scenarios
the second or third quarter of next year could actually have
negative growth. So far this quarter there have been around 310
earnings warnings on the S&P compared with only 204 for the same
quarter of last year. Of these around 50 have been tech stocks.
If the big caps mentioned above warn then it is very likely the
final numbers will be close to 400 warnings for the quarter.
This is a major change in direction from last year and even from
just last summer.

The market had been trying to shake off the flood of warnings
as already priced into the market but the sheer numbers of
warnings and the breadth of sectors has pushed investors onto
the ropes like a punch drunk Rocky Balboa. Beaten but not out
but with little signs of any chance of recovery. Investors who
had been hoping to hang onto shares of companies decimated by
this bear market were encouraged by the last two weeks apparent
bottom. Those hopes of a rebound by year end and possibly holding
onto the stock instead of settling for a tax loss are fading fast.
With every failed Nasdaq rally the possibility of heavier tax
selling increases. With every -100 point drop investors already
sitting on cash are counting themselves lucky but they are losing
confidence in a possible Santa Claus rally. The January effect,
which could have been partly responsible for the bounce last
week is fading fast.

Much of this is complicated by the unknowns of Reg. FD or the
Full Disclosure law that was recently enacted. Under this law
companies must tell all investors at the same time of any change
in the financial picture. Before this they could guide analysts
lower privately without the embarrassing public disclosure. Now
companies must make all news available to everyone at the same
time. Companies appear to be taking this seriously and in the
world of increased shareholder lawsuits they are disclosing
more info than less and erring on the side of too much caution.
The impact of too much information is investors being flooded
with even minor changes that appear as warnings. The economy
is of course amplifying the problem.

The economic reports began in earnest this morning with a Fed
friendly drop in Retail Sales. They dropped -.4% for November
when analysts were expecting a slight gain of +.1% instead. This
was the first drop since April and a key indicator in the state
of the economy. The wealth effect is dead. It has now become a
negative as consumers bitten by the worst bear market in recent
memory nurse their broken and bleeding retirement accounts.

Enter stage left the man in the super Santa suit. Superman and
Santa Claus all wrapped up in one personality. Greenspan and
his herd of Fed reindeer can only paint one picture at their
meeting next week. Not a hard landing but a crash in progress.
But, remember his speech from last week? Not on my watch, will
the economy crash. Especially not with an incoming republican
president. (he did not say that but you can bet it is on his mind)
With the PPI tomorrow and the CPI on Friday anything short of a
miraculous recovery in those numbers will result in at least a
change in bias on Tuesday and many now believe even a rate cut.
While that may be optimistic and unrealistic without knowing the
PPI/CPI it is still a serious possibility.

Assuming the election fight does come to a complete and final
close tonight when both candidates appear on prime time TV, the
market may breathe a new sigh of real relief on Thursday. With
that five week problem finally out of the way the market will
finally be free to focus entirely on earnings and future growth.
In a previous paragraph I mentioned that we could actually have
negative growth in 2001 which sounds bad for the market. Actually
as everyone knows the market tends to discount future events
way before they occur. The 2001 growth estimates are already
priced into this market. The Nasdaq dropped -50% from the years
highs. Many individual stocks have lost -60%, -70% even -80% in
just a period of months. This is the discounting of the 2001
earnings. The only question is when it will stop.

I speak with investors constantly and the trend has turned from
complaining about how far the market has fallen to a general
feeling of "what a great buying opportunity." People who have
not been generally interested in the daily market are now
quoting stock prices and saying "I can't believe XYZ stock is
only $$$." I think I am going to buy some along with ABC, EFG.
This same thought process is going through the fund managers
minds and they have cash to spend. Once the Fed direction is
clear on Tuesday I think we will see a significant change in
sentiment. Bad news is priced in but rate cuts are not. A rate
cut will turn the market on a dime. The old adage about buying
stocks when nobody else wants them could not be truer than
today. Nobody wanted tech stocks today. But in reality the market
moving earnings warnings today were actually Compaq related from
last night. The few that warned today, SEM, ACTL, SCH, WHR, CLE,
SING, BBBY, CCDl, ODGC, PZZA and others were not market movers.
They just added to the general sentiment. The Compaq warning put
pressure on the remaining big cap techs who have not warned and
that pushed the techs lower. It was a sentiment decrease based
on the lingering election uncertainty and lingering warning
uncertainty. The stocks I pointed to last night as only dropping
a little got whacked today just like everybody else. Investors
threw out the good with the bad. I mentioned that if we could not
break 3000 this week we would probably retest 2700 again. The
Nasdaq tried valiantly and to rally and hold it but it was not
in the cards.

Still there was no conviction. Volume failed to break 2 billion
shares on the Nasdaq and barely 1.1 billion on the NYSE. New
highs beat new lows 2:1 on the NYSE 110:64. That is not a sign
of a beaten market. The Nasdaq however was broadly negative on
the aforementioned pending warning expectations. The good news
that the election is almost history but the credits still have
to play AFTER the speeches tonight. Then we can get back to the more
important business at hand. I am still bullish but I am not stupid.
I said last night I would buy the dip based on a concluding
verdict from the court. We got the verdict but the delay in acting
on it prevented a bottom from forming pending the wording of the
anticipated concession speech. Several times in the middle of
the day I wanted to pull the trigger in the 2860 range which was
the bottom of the ascending Nasdaq trendline but I saw no strength.
When buying a dip you want to buy the rebound not the drop. It
never happened. Now tomorrow I get another chance to play again.
The options I want are now cheaper (calls) and the puts I want to
sell are worth more. This is my kind of Christmas shopping! Several
companies announced stock buy backs after the close and that tends
to occur around market bottoms. (wishful thinking?) Now that the
Nasdaq has failed at 3000 three days in a row and broke the 2860
support line at the close I think we need to be more careful. Yes,
I know that is a sentiment change for me from Sunday but we always
need to be reactive to what the market gives us instead of trying
to force our bias onto the market. I am still an aggressive buyer
of any bounce from here. I can also see a possible 2700 retest on
more negative earnings news. Does that make me bipolar, or just
realistic? This is simply not a stable environment with hourly news
that is playing the market like a puppet. Patience is a highly
valued attribute that we need to practice until a clear market
direction is found.

One of the stocks I wanted to play all day was BRCM. After a +$60
gain over the last two weeks it has consolidated for two days and
only gave back -2.81 today. Whether you like BRCM or not this is
the type of strength you should be looking for when the market
finally rallies, and it will finally rally. Stocks that bend less
when the market and sectors are going against them are the stocks
that rebound the strongest when good times come again.

BRCM could get hammered tomorrow just like BRCD and JNPR did today
but that would simply be a better entry point in the master game
plan. I still think BRCD and JNPR are excellent plays even though
they had a tough day. Those with high trading profits (BRCD +$85,
JNPR +$66) but weak conviction sell off more on bad days. These can
run again when the tide turns but without strong buyers holding them
up they are just as likely to fall quicker on the next wave of selling.
Just a quick reminder that you want to trade these stocks not marry

I waited until after the Gore speech before posting this article
just to make sure there were no qualifications or word bombs that
would change the tone. There were none. I am not a Democrat which
should surprise no one who has read my material in the past. The
VP did an admirable job and this was one of his best speeches ever.
I truly believe the contest is over and even the "I don't agree
with the court decision but I accept it" comments were made with
graciousness. Even the veiled "I will be back" comments were made
in good taste. I salute him for doing the right thing in the best
manner possible. I salute him and my impression of him rose several
points. Good job, Mr. Gore! Your service to your country is far
from over. Gore running again in 2004 is a given. Wish I could buy
leaps on that! The futures spiked during the speech. Hopefully they
will hold. Now let's go make some money!

Good luck and don't buy too soon.

Jim Brown

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JOHN DESSAUER "Dream Seminar at Sea"

You have seen me write about John Dessauer, a newsletter editor
with a 20-year history. John spoke at our March Expo here in
Denver to about 600 attendees. John uses a common sense bottom
up method of stock picking and has been very successful. He has
asked me to speak at his "Dream Seminar at Sea" in March. The
itinerary looks more like a vacation than a seminar with stops
in Aruba, Caracas, Grenada, Dominica, St Thomas and San Juan but
John will manage to keep us busy. If you have interest in this
event visit this link:


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SGP - Schering-Plough Corp. $57.88 +2.13 (+2.63 this week)

Schering-Plough develops and markets pharmaceutical products and
treatment programs worldwide.  It operates in three principal
product lines: prescription drugs, animal health products, and
over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.  At the top of the company's
pharmaceutical inventory is the world's leading antihistamine,
Claritin.  Some OTC drugs that you may be familiar with include
brand names Afrin, Dr. Scholl's and Coppertone.

As a premier developer and marketer of some of the world's
principal drugs, Schering-Plough (SGP) maintains a leadership
position within the industry along with Merck (MRK) and Pfizer
(PFE).  Already this week, SGP traced the Dow higher and
stretched into new territory.  Today's intraday crest at $58.19
marked the second time in three sessions that SGP set a new 52-
week record high.  Today's election news also fares well for the
drug makers, at least for the next four years!  Remember that
during the Gore campaign, the big drug companies were hounded
about out-of-control drug prices and threats of Medicare reform.
This is no longer a worry with a Bush administration apparently
taking over the White House.  Additionally, The company is
expected, along with its competitor Merck, to meet financial
forecast later next month.  Today's news report of Schering-
Plough's submission to of New Drug Applications (NDA) to the FDA
for two new formulations of its non-sedating antihistamine
desloratadine was also well received by the Street.  Going
forward over the shorter-term, we're looking for SGP to
demonstrate continued strength above our $55 protective stop and
build more upside momentum as it challenges the $60 level.  Our
play is based on sector strength, positive news events, and the
overall market environment.  If your approach is more
conservative, then wait in the wings until SGP blasts through
$60 on robust volume.  A bit more aggressive is to enter this
momentum play on strong bounces off the $55 level, which is
bolstered by the intersecting 5- and 10-DMAs at $55.78 and
$55.20, respectively.

BUY CALL JAN-50 SGP-AJ OI=9331 at $8.88 SL=6.25
BUY CALL JAN-55*SGP-AK OI=9110 at $4.88 SL=3.00
BUY CALL JAN-60 SGP-AL OI=6124 at $2.13 SL-1.00
BUY CALL FEB-55 SGP-BK OI=3254 at $5.75 SL=3.75
BUY CALL FEB-60 SGP-BL OI=3305 at $3.00 SL=1.50
BUY CALL FEB-65 SGP-BM OI= 133 at $1.50 SL=0.75



MO - Philip Morris Co. $40.81 +1.94 (+1.19 this week)

The Philip Morris family of companies is the world's largest
producer and marketer of consumer packaged goods.  Philip Morris
Companies Inc. has five principal operating companies: Kraft
Foods, Inc. (comprising Kraft Foods North America and Kraft Foods
International), Miller Brewing Company, Philip Morris
International Inc., Philip Morris Incorporated (PM USA) and
Philip Morris Capital Corporation.

The premise of this Low Volatility call play is quite simple.
While the NASDAQ sells off on the news that George W. Bush will
be the next President of the United States, MO broke out over its
recent resistance of $40.  The news that Gore will concede bodes
well for tobacco stocks, which are perceived to fare well under a
Bush administration.  We are looking for MO's momentum to continue
as President-elect Bush settles into his new role.  Today's gain
was a 5% pop for the stock, so don't be surprised to see a slight
profit-taking pullback.  Look to gain entry on bounces from
previous resistance at $40.  Below that level, $39 is a strong
level of support where the 10-dma lies.  MO very well may move
higher, so a break above current intraday resistance at $41 may
attract buyers and warrant entry.  Just be sure that there is
volume to back the move.  We are setting a stop loss level of
$38.50, so if MO closes below this level, we will be out.  Option
premiums are fairly cheap, constituting the Low Volatility nature
of this call play.

BUY CALL JAN-35 MO-AG OI=59926 at $6.38 SL=4.75
BUY CALL JAN-40*MO-AH OI=44609 at $2.69 SL=1.25
BUY CALL JAN-45 MO-AI OI=33065 at $0.88 SL=0.00  High Risk!
BUY CALL MAR-40 MO-CH OI=16038 at $4.25 SL=2.50



IBM - Int'l Business Machines $91.25 -2.63 (-5.75 this week)

IBM develops, manufactures, and sells advanced technology
processing products.  They are the world's top provider of
computer hardware including PCs, mainframes, and network
servers. IBM is also an industry leader in software and
peripherals, second only to Microsoft.  The company owns
software pioneer Lotus development, maker of Lotus Notes.

For the most part, Big Blue's been able to buffer its share
price from the negative impact of the earnings' worries that's
tormented the hardware sector since Gateway's (GTW) late
November warning.  Once GTW set the bearish tone for the
quarter, Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC), and Advanced Micro Devices
weren't far behind with their own earnings' woes.  Although the
slew of warnings only added more turmoil and uncertainty,
Compaq's warning yesterday appeared to be one of the straws
that broke the IBM's back, so to speak.  The CEO recently
declined to comment on IBM's upcoming earnings' release, which
is expected around January 16th, and instead focused on future
challenges during a press release.  On Tuesday, IBM was already
down slightly after investors found the CEO's comments, or lack
there of, rather inexplicit.  But today's clean break to the
underside of the supportive $93 mark and trailing 5-dma ($94.51)
piqued our interest.  The weakness extended into late afternoon
trading and IBM saw $90.69 on the decline.  Only during the
bleak month of October and way back in November 1999 has the
share price dropped to these depressed levels.  So on one hand,
one could argue that buyer's are destined to step in and
generate a powerful run up.  But let's take a look at the whole
picture: a struggling stock, a struggling sector and a
struggling marketplace all lend to more downside action over the
short-term.  But of course, that's no excuse not to use
protective stops during these unwieldy trading times.  Our stop
is firmly sandwiched between the 5-dma ($94.51) and the 10-dma
($96.02) at $95.  A high-volume rollover near these marks offers
the enterprising trader viable entries, but watch other vendors
like DELL and HWP for a better view of the overall sentiment
within the sector.  A breakdown under the $90 level would,
without doubt, offer additional confirmation that IBM is truly
on a course of destruction.

BUY PUT JAN-95 IBM-MS OI=10058 at $9.00 SL=6.25
BUY PUT JAN-90*IBM-MR OI=18557 at $6.50 SL=4.50
BUY PUT JAN-85 IBM-MQ OI=14856 at $4.50 SL=2.75



BBOX - put play
Adjust from $58 down to $53

EMC - put play
Adjust from $92 down to $84


BRCD $209.69 -8.06 (-10.06) A second day of pounding took BRCD
through critical technical lines and our stop of $210.  The 50-
dma ($217.69), which buoyed BRCD during yesterday's pullback in
the NASDAQ, collapsed at today's opening bell.  The last line of
technical support before BRCD violated our exit point was at the
5-dma ($214.64).  It also failed to keep the share price afloat
amid the market's triple digit losses.  A bounce off the 30-dma
($206.81) is possible; although, it's also just as likely that
BRCD could slide back to the previous resistance level at $200
before resurfacing.  The upcoming 2:1 stock split, which is
scheduled to go ex-div on December 22nd, is just around the
corner.  We had a heck of a run with this play and our stop left
us with $41.75 winner, so we won't complain.

MUSE $122.75 -21.75 (-12.88) This Internet's destruction was
fast and furious.  The seller's relentless pursuit of profits
knocked MUSE down more than a few more notches in today's
negative marketplace.  Profit mongers dragged the share price
down a hefty 15.1% on double the normal volume levels.  After a
two-week recovery that culminated with an intraday high of $151
and reaped grand profits, we're packing it up.  The severe
backlash today and resulting transgression below our stop of
$128 warrants the drop this evening.

NEWP $104.25 -19.19 (-7.38) The instantaneous reversal from
this morning's strong opening trades at $128 and $128.44 kept
the call traders at bay.  Without any buyers stepping to move
NEWP upward, the share price quickly succumbed to the selling
pressure.  Initially it appeared NEWP would hold above $115 and
not infringe upon our $114 stop.  However, the downward momentum
intensified in the last thirty minutes of trading on the
Election news.  NEWP saw more 10 points slip away as the market
sold-off with a vengeance.  On the day, NEWP finished down a
very bearish $19.19, or 15.6%!  That's certainly not a recipe
for success and so, we're cutting NEWP from our call list

EXDS $30.50 -4.38 (-0.13) A higher volume sell-off in EXDS today
broke on through our stop of $31.  Our perceived level of support
did not hold up as traders sold the news on the Presidential
Election.  What was particularly of concern was the higher volume
of the sell side as opposed the recent climb of the past three
sessions.  It appears that without the Presidential whirlwind, the
markets are going to go back to concentrating on the health of
earnings and the economy.  With that goes our call play on EXDS.

SUNW $31.75 -2.13 (-7.19) After splitting 2-1 last week, SUNW has
deteriorated into the low $30s.  Volume has been increasing to the
downside.  It's hard to believe that SUNW is being taken so low,
and our premise was to play an oversold bounce as a Lottery call.
Now that the Presidential Election is seemingly over, the focus is
once again on earnings and who will be the next to warn.  This
negative sentiment did not take SUNW through our stop of $30, yet
we are dropping coverage of this play based on the related problems
in the Hardware Sector, namely IBM and CPQ.

QQQ $68.75 -2.94 (+0.75) Well, it's tough to say good bye to such
a good performer.  The NASDAQ 100 Unit Trust rallied nicely and
made us a pretty profit.  Unfortunately, with the noise that the
Presidential Election created gone, the NASDAQ has sunk back to the
2800 level and will likely begin to consolidate in choppy trading.
The relief rally from oversold conditions on the NASDAQ provided
us with a great trading opportunity and we can't complain about a
9% gain as we part ways.

PALM $47.44 -5.06 (-6.75) Early in the week, PALM showed up to
perform.  It opened the week and continued its momentum that
began on Friday.  But PALM ran into resistance at $57.50, which
just happened to be its 200-dma.  Since then, the stock retreated
and with today's broad tech market sell-off, PALM plunged 10%.
The stock blew right through our stop of $50 and even closed below
the convergence of key technical levels, the 10-, 50-, and 100-dmas
near $48.  As a result, we are out of this call play.

NTAP $72.75 -9.94 (-14.44)  Traders showed up today to sell the
NASDAQ.  Well, which stocks do you think would get hit hardest?
That's right, the ones that have made incredible leaps in the
last two weeks.  A day like today is exactly why we preach keeping
tight stops on winning trades to avoid giving back profits.  NTAP
was one of those stocks.  We had our stop at $75 and it looked like
buyers were going to hold their ground at that support level.  But
the selling got worse across the board in the final half hour of
trading.  The seller overpowered the buyers and $75 gave way.
We are dropping this play as a result, but we won't complain with
the 35% gain in two weeks.

NTIQ $96.00 -13.38 (-8.75) Well, it looked really good technically.
But the sellers whacked the NASDAQ today and took big profits from
the recent oversold rally.  NTIQ was in the wrong place at the
wrong time.  Volume was heavy as the stock dropped %12.  Luckily,
the selling began early and the chart never indicated an entry
point as NTIQ just slid 16 points in the first hour and a half of
trading.  This was a clear sign to stay away, especially
considering our stop was at $99.

ADBE $66.19 -4.50 (-2.19) This was a quick little play that
provided great trading opportunity.  We picked it up at $67.19
and saw the stock trade as high as $75.  But today, ADBE fell
victim to profit takers on the NASDAQ.  Not even ADBE's earnings
announcement due out tomorrow after the close could spark a buying
interest in the stock.  Therefore, we would exit the play before
the earnings announcement.  We are also dropping ADBE tonight
because it violated our stop at $68.

EXTR $78.19 -4.06 (-4.25) This is another NASDAQ favorite that
tends to make big moves in both directions and felt the selling
heat today.  It's the same story as most of the drops on the list
tonight:  profit taking after an oversold rally and an apparent
resolution to the Presidential debate.  We set our stop at $79
and EXTR closed just below it.  Although we are dropping this
play tonight, a sign of strength was the late session buying that
lifted EXTR from what appears to be solid support at $75.


ABT $51.81 +1.63 (+2.13) Today the company said it plans to make
an announcement of Friday involving its pharmaceutical division.
About...they wouldn't say.  The rumor is that ABT has created a
global structure in its pharmaceutical division to streamline its
operations and enhance growth.  While we will have to wait until
Friday to know for sure, ABT rallied today on the speculation.
The stock did not violated our stop loss level of $52, but with
solid support at $50, we are dropping ABT as it moves higher.


Sector Watch
By Mary Redmond

Nowadays, it is critical to pay attention to the sector we are
trading, as well as the movement of the individual stock and
the market indexes.  As much as 75% of the movement in a stock
can be attributed to the movement in the sector.  A company
could release excellent news about its earnings, but if
the sector is not rallying, the stock may not rally either.

We need to realize that the Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan gave a clear indication of a shift in policy directive
during his last speech.  While the stock market seems somewhat
skeptical of the Fed's possible intent to reduce rates, it
appears to be priced in to the Fed Funds futures market.

The stock market appears to be waiting for further clarification
of a reduction in inflation through the inflationary indicators.
But many analysts think that the credit crunch alone is enough
reason for the Fed to ease up on rates and inject liquidity
into the market. When small and medium sized businesses cannot
obtain financing for expansion through the debt and equity
markets, it has historically been time for the Fed to step in
and take action.  Chairman Greenspan made a point in his last
speech that bankers must be aware of the potential for an
excessive slowdown in economic growth, which could occur if
the capital markets dry up.

We can never be completely certain what effect a potential
decrease in interest rates may have.  However, the sectors
which are most likely to profit from a Fed rate easing are
telecom, technology, financials, and small and mid cap stocks.
These are the sectors, which outperformed the indexes
following the initial Fed easings in 1995, while utilities
and basic materials lagged.

This gets us back to the sector rule.  In order to be highly
specific, it is essential to pay attention to a stock's business
sector, as well as the market capitalization sector.

If the Fed cuts rates, it will be easier for small- and mid-cap
companies which are not profitable to find financing for
their expansion.  For example, some mid-cap telecommunications
companies have had to pay very high rates on their corporate debt.
This can cut into the companies' profit margins.  This sector,
as well as the Russell 2000 index, has performed poorly over
the last twelve months.  However, the sector may do well in
the coming months if rate cuts are effective.

It is a good idea to check the movement of the sector before
buying call or put options.  One way to do this is to watch
the index shares or HOLDRs shares.

For example, the American stock exchange and CBOE both list
index shares, which are a convenient way to watch and trades
indexes.  The American exchange also lists HOLDRs, which are
similar to mutual funds which hold stocks in a certain sector.
In addition to watching the Dow and the Nasdaq, it can also be
useful to watch other indexes.  The MDY is the S&P 500 Mid-Cap
Index, the IYY is the Dow Jones U.S. Total Market Index, the
RUT.X is the Russell 2000 Index, and the IWZ is the Russell 3000

Before buying a call on a stock in the networking index, it can
be helpful to see if NWX.X is rising.  The HOLDRs which are the
most useful are generally Biotech (BBH), Pharmaceutical (PPH),
Semiconductor (SMH), and Telecom (TTH).  You can also watch the
SPDR sector funds, including XLF (financial), and XLE (energy).
It is a good idea to make sure the sector is rallying before
buying calls, or falling before buying puts.

Some stocks tend to move very closely to the index.  For example,
if you put up a chart of GE over the last 5 years, it is almost
identical to a chart of the S&P 500 index.  In addition, Cisco
moves almost in tandem with Nasdaq.

When evaluating the market capitalization of a company, the issue
of liquidity becomes important.  Micro-cap stocks usually are poor
short-term trading candidates.  This is because their shares are
not as easily purchased and sold, and a limited number of shares
trade on an ordinary day.  A relatively small increase in share
volume can have an enormous impact on the share price.  On the
other hand, very large companies, like Cisco and GE usually move
more slowly since it takes an enormous amount of money flow to
move these stocks up a few points.

There is another factor to consider when evaluating the market
conditions at the present time.  Many people expected the
market to rally after the Election uncertainty was resolved,
particularly with an expectation of one or more rate cuts
next year.  But the market is the great anticipator.  The
market may be saying, "Ok, the Fed may cut rates, and then
what?  What if we have a recession anyway?"  There have been a
number of prominent analysts on the news lately stating that
there is a risk of a recession in 2001.

The Federal Reserve has done a superb job over the last decade
of maneuvering the U.S. economy through good and bad times.
However, the Fed can never be completely certain how much of
an impact their actions will have.  There is always a risk that
excessive rate hikes can crash land the economy, and that rate
cuts will not be able to soften the blow.  A rate cut is not
necessarily a panacea for all the potential ills of the economy.

At this point, the first quarter earnings reports may be the
fuel for a strong rally.  If companies can convince investors
that their earnings and profit margins are still growing at
acceptable levels, then investors will probably feel more
comfortable committing funds.

It is also important to consider that earnings warnings have
been released earlier than they were in previous quarters due
to the Regulation Fair Disclosure of the SEC.  The general
consensus for earnings growth for 2001 is between 8 and 9%,
which is a high level historically.  So we have had more
warnings this quarter than we have in the past, and considering
this fact, the market has responded quite well.  But don't
forget, keep your eye on the sectors and their overall reaction.

Why put all your risk into one stock when you can play the
index instead?

Learn how to invest in the OEX, QQQ, and SPX.  Get intraday
market updates, plays, education and daily commentaries by
those who know.

Sign up for a two week free trial and see for yourself at


A - Agilent Technologies Inc $58.19 +0.94 (-1.25 this week)

Agilent is a diversified technology company that provides
solutions to high growth markets within the communications,
electronics, healthcare and life sciences industries.  They're a
leading maker of analysis equipment with 51% of sales deriving
from its Test and Measurement Unit.  Recently Philips
Electronics agreed to buy Agilent's Healthcare Solutions for
$1.7 bln.  Customers include AT&T, Cisco, and Pharmacia.

Most Recent Write-Up

The stock's recent move above the $57 mark and its attempt to
grab the $60 brass ring demonstrates a very bullish sentiment.
Since mid-November's recovery from the underside of the $40 level,
the upward trendline continues to remain steadfast.  The share
price is currently consolidating at the higher levels between
$57 and $60 on respectable volume.  Taking into account the
narrow range, we're maintaining our $53 stop loss on this play.
In the coming days, the election saga and the Feds will act as
volatile catalysts across the broad markets.  Keep stops tight.
If you're planning an entry, look for A to break to the upside of
the formidable resistance ($60) before initiating new plays.  If
a rally ensues, the next level of contention is at the 200-dma
($69.22) line.


In the face of a retreating NASDAQ, A managed to post a gain for
the day.  Since breaking above $55 last Friday, A has been trading
in a narrow $4 range and is building an ascending wedge.  This
technical development will likely lead to another challenge of $60.
Look for entry off bounces from $57 or a breakout above $60 with
strong volume.

BUY CALL JAN-55 A-AK OI=2336 at $7.25 SL=5.50
BUY CALL JAN-60*A-AL OI=4059 at $4.88 SL=3.00
BUY CALL JAN-65 A-AM OI=2727 at $3.13 SL=1.50
BUY CALL FEB-60 A-BL OI= 875 at $6.88 SL=5.00
BUY CALL FEB-65 A-BM OI= 418 at $5.13 SL=3.25



Chip stocks take a dip...

Technology issues slumped today after a slew of bearish analyst
comments in the semiconductor equipment sector.  Merrill Lynch
said a recent trip to Asia revealed that semiconductor capital
spending will slow more dramatically than previously expected
in 2001.  The research note suggested that the macroeconomic
conditions resulting in softer semiconductor demand could cause
many chip equipment shares to retreat toward 1998 valuations.
Prudential also lowered its 2001 semiconductor capital spending
estimates due to end-market demand weakness and Salomon Smith
Barney slashed its rating on the group, indicating that lower
earnings forecasts could drive semiconductor stocks to recent
lows.  Additional concerns surfaced in the Personal Computer
sector as Compaq Computer became the latest in a string of box
makers to warn of revenue shortfalls due to sagging PC demand.
The company said late Tuesday that it now expects fourth-quarter
earnings to be well below consensus estimates and their 2001
guidance is lower than previously forecast, though it expects
the second half of the year to be stronger than the first half.
Among the Dow's technology components, International Business
Machines (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), Hewlett-Packard (HWP), and
Intel (INTC) all moved lower.  One of the bright spots in the
blue-chip group was cigarette maker Philip Morris (MO), which
added $1.93 to end at a 52-week near $41.  The move came in the
wake of an apparent Bush victory in the protracted Presidential
election.  After weeks of continuous lawsuits and political
maneuvering by both Vice President Al Gore and Governor George
Bush, a Supreme Court ruling that reversed Florida's decision to
allow hand recounts in the state is seen to have erased Gore's
chance of victory.  Gore is expected to concede the Presidential
election in a nationally televised address Wednesday evening.
The market's perception is that the Bush administration would
adopt a more pro-business approach, which favored a number of
specific sectors in today's session.  Inside the broader market,
major drug, utility, oil service, chemical and consumer products
stocks climbed while financial, gold and retail issues retreated.
Among technology shares, all of the major sectors declined, with
hardware companies enduring the brunt of the selling pressure.

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

EMLX    DEC   120   113.56 157.69    $6.44   4.7% 2-1 Split 12/18
ADBE    DEC    67.5  64.44  66.19    $1.75   2.8% Key Moment

Naked Puts:

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

BEAS    DEC    55    54.50  66.25    $0.50  11.0%
FNSR    DEC    22.5  21.94  34.88    $0.56  10.7%
CHIR    DEC    35    34.31  44.44    $0.69   9.6%
IDPH    DEC   155   153.94 203.38    $1.06   8.8% 3-2 Split 01/18
PWAV    DEC    40    39.00  63.13    $1.00   8.3%
SAWS    DEC    35    34.12  70.88    $0.88   8.0%
GENZ    DEC    75    74.19  95.56    $0.81   6.9%
CMVT    DEC    85    83.37 112.13    $1.63   6.7%
QCOM    DEC    65    63.81  91.31    $1.19   6.7%
ADBE    DEC    55    54.00  66.19    $1.00   5.9% Key Moment
FRX     DEC   125   123.69 134.75    $1.31   5.8%
PVN     DEC    35    34.75  45.63    $0.25   5.0% Adj 2-1 Split
SCMR    DEC    40    39.31  63.56    $0.69   4.9%
CRGN - Position closed.

NOK     JAN    40    39.25  48.13    $0.75   4.7%

Sell Straddles:

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

CLFO -  Short-put position closed.
CFLO    DEC   165   172.13  57.25    $7.13  23.2%

MANU    DEC    32.5  32.16  50.75    $0.35  11.7% Adj 2-1 Split
MANU    DEC    70    70.25  50.75    $0.25   8.4% Adj 2-1 Split

Naked Calls:

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

MANU    DEC   135   136.75  50.75    $1.75  13.0% 2-1 Split 12/08
CIEN    DEC   110   111.00 104.63    $1.00  12.2% Reprieve? Close?
EMLX    DEC   185   187.19 157.69    $2.19  10.9% 2-1 Split 12/18
IWOV    DEC   115   115.50  70.47    $0.50  10.6%
EMLX    DEC   175   176.06 157.69    $1.06   8.7% 2-1 Split 12/18
CIEN    DEC   140   141.25 104.63    $1.25   8.3%

Credit Spreads:

Stock  Pick    Last     Position   Credit    C/B    G/L   Status

AFFX  $87.25  $69.63   DEC50P/60P  $1.12   $58.88  $0.88   Open
AGN   $90.75  $89.38   DEC70P/75P  $0.75   $74.25  $0.75   Open
AET   $66.06  $68.13   DEC55P/60P  $0.56   $59.44  $0.56   Open
APA   $62.44  $61.75   DEC50P/55P  $0.63   $54.43  $0.63   Open
BMY   $67.94  $70.69   DEC60P/65P  $0.88   $64.13  $0.88   Open
ELN   $53.38  $51.56   DEC47P/50P  $0.50   $49.50  $0.50   Alert
XL    $80.00  $81.00   DEC70P/75P  $0.62   $74.38  $0.62   Open

Debit Straddles:

Stock  Pick    Last     Position   Debit    G/L    Status

FITB  $55.25  $56.13   DEC55C/55P  $3.00   $-1.75   Open*

* Closing the Straddle on DEC 6 provided a $0.62 credit - a 20%
return in one day.

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 Puts, Combinations

DCTM - Documentum  $58.38  *** On The Move! ***

Documentum develops, markets and supports an open, scalable,
standards-based content management platform and application
suite for managing the content organizations rely on for global
operations and to bring their businesses online.  Documentum's
Internet-scale content management solutions facilitate e-business
connections with customers, business partners and employees.
These solutions enable customers to create, deliver, manage and
personalize all content from contributors within and outside the
enterprise, for key business process, in a targeted manner.

Documentum is "on the move" and the recent rally to new highs
near $58 suggests there is further upside potential for the
issue.  The stock has excellent buying support near our cost
basis and the favorable option premiums will allow traders to
speculate, in a conservative manner, on the future movement of
the company's share value.

DCTM - Documentum  $58.38

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

Sell Put  JAN 40   QDC MH  2         1.06    38.94     6.8% ***
Sell Put  JAN 43   QDC MV  5016      1.56    40.94     9.7%
Sell Put  JAN 45   QDC MI  400       2.19    42.81    13.0%


EMLX - Emulex  $157.69  *** Split Play! ***

Emulex is a designer, developer and supplier of a broad line of
Fibre Channel host adapters, hubs, application-specific computer
chips (ASICs), and software products that provide connectivity
solutions for Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs), network
attached storage (NAS), and redundant array of independent disks
(RAID) storage.  Its products are based on internally developed
ASIC technology, and are deployable across a variety of SAN
configurations, system buses and operating systems, enhancing data
flow between computers and peripherals.  Emulex's products offer
customers a combination of critical reliability, scalability, and
high performance, and can be also customized for mission-critical
server and storage system applications.

Emulex made some big announcements last week, saying it plans to
acquire closely held Giganet for about $645 million in stock and
at the same time, the company boosted its earnings and revenue
forecasts for fiscal 2001.  Emulex officials said they will offer
about four million shares of EMLX stock to acquire Giganet, and
the purchase price reflects the potential value of Giganet's new
technology for the transfer of data stored on computer networks.
In addition, Emulex also increased its financial outlook for 2001
and 2002 as a result of strong demand for its products, which
include unique circuitry that allows lightning-fast transfer of
data between computers.  The company now expects revenue for the
fiscal year ending in July to total approximately $285 million, up
from an estimate of about $250 million.

Our opinion is simply that Emulex is an industry leader and may
become a dominant player in the Fibre Channel storage and transfer
systems group.  It's also a technology stock we would love to have
in our long-term growth portfolio at a cost basis near $45, after
the company's 2-for-1 stock split on December 15.

EMLX - Emulex  $157.69

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

Sell Put  JAN 85   UMQ MQ  147       2.00    83.00     4.9%
Sell Put  JAN 90   UMQ MR  531       2.63    87.37     6.3% ***
Sell Put  JAN 95   UMQ MS  208       3.13    91.87     7.4%


ESRX - Express Scripts  $88.88   *** Healthcare Rally! ***

Express Scripts is a Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) company in
North America and a full-service PBM independent of pharmaceutical
manufacturer or drug store ownership in North America.  Express
Scripts provides a combination of benefit management services,
including retail drug card programs, mail pharmacy services, drug
formulary management programs and clinical management programs for
approximately 9,300 clients that include HMOs, health insurers,
third-party administrators, employers and union-sponsored benefit
plans.  Some of their largest clients include United HealthCare
Corporation, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Oxford Health Plans, Blue
Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Shield of California and
the State of New York Empire Plan Prescription Drug Program.

Companies in the Healthcare Services industry have performed well
over the past year and with the increasing potential for a George
Bush presidency, the group has enjoyed additional strength in recent
sessions.  Analysts say Express Scripts has a reputation as one of
the best Pharmacy Benefit Management companies and based on their
projected earnings, it is an appealing stock at current prices and
is also trading at a discount to its peers.  Investors appear to
agree with that outlook, as the issue is approaching an all-time
high near $90 with excellent buying support.  Today's rally in the
midst of an unsure market suggests the trend will continue and the
previous trading-range top near $80 should provide some support
for any future corrections.

ESRX - Express Scripts  $88.88

PLAY (very conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  JAN-65  XTQ-MM  OI=0   A=0.88
SELL PUT  JAN-70  XTQ-MN  OI=10  B=1.25

- or -

PLAY (aggressive - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  JAN-75  XTQ-MO  OI=100  A=2.18
SELL PUT  JAN-80  XTQ-MP  OI=74   B=3.38
INITIAL NET CREDIT TARGET=$1.25-$1.38  ROI(max)=33%


IVGN - Invitrogen  $81.13  *** A Profitable Biotech? ***

Invitrogen develops, manufactures, and markets research tools in
kit form and provides other research products and services to
corporate, academic and government entities.  The company's
research kits simplify and improve gene cloning, gene expression
and gene analysis techniques as well as other molecular biology
activities.  These techniques and activities are used to study
how cells are regulated by genetic material, known as functional
genomics, and to search for drugs that can treat diseases.  The
company currently offers approximately 700 gene-identification,
cloning, expression and analysis services.  Since the merger with
Life Technologies and Dexter Corporation, Invitrogen announced
that it intends to reorganize the company into two primary lines
of business, a Molecular Biology division and a Cell Culture

In early November, Invitrogen reported outstanding third quarter
results and said it expects earnings and revenues for the fourth
quarter and full year to surpass Wall Street estimates.  The
company announced third-quarter income of $7.8 million, or $0.26
a share, versus $3.1 million, or $0.14 a share, in the year-ago
period.  Revenues for the quarter rose 102% to $48 million from
$23.8 million a year ago.  Wall Street analysts on average were
expecting the company to post a profit of only $0.19 per share.
The CEO added that he expects fourth-quarter earnings to be in
the range of $0.30 to $0.33 per share, and revenues are expected
to be in the range of $140 million to $145 million.  Those are
excellent results for any small company, and certainly for one
in the volatile Biotech industry.

Based on the current price and trading range of the underlying
issue and the recent technical history or trend, this position
offers favorable speculation for traders who are bullish on the

IVGN - Invitrogen  $81.13

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

Sell Put  JAN 60   IUV ML  155       1.50    58.50     7.0% ***
Sell Put  JAN 65   IUV MM  10        2.50    62.50    10.9%



GMST - Gemstar-TV Guide  $40.50  *** Technicals Only! ***

Gemstar-TV Guide International develops, markets and licenses
proprietary technologies and systems that simplify and enhance
consumers' interaction with electronics products and other
platforms that deliver video, programming information and other
data.  The company's first proprietary system, VCR Plus+, is
currently incorporated into virtually every major brand of VCR
sold worldwide.  The company has also developed and acquired a
large portfolio of technologies and intellectual property to
implement interactive program guides (Gemstar Guide Technology),
which enable consumers to navigate through, sort, select and
record television programming.

This play is based on the current price of the underlying stock
and its recent technical history.  The probability of profit in
these positions is also higher than other plays in the same
strategy based on disparities in option pricing.  We will use
the recent volatility and the overpriced options to initiate a
neutral position with a favorable premium.  The probability of
the share value reaching our sold strikes is rather low, but
there is always the possibility of a break-out from the recent
trading range, so monitor the position for changes in technical

GMST - Gemstar-TV Guide  $40.50

PLAY (conservative - neutral/credit strangle):

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

Sell Call JAN 65   GST AM  35        0.75    65.75     6.8% ***
Sell Put  JAN 25   QLF ME  0         0.63    24.37     5.8% ***


Sell Call JAN 60   GST AL  104       1.31    61.31    11.2%
Sell Put  JAN 30   QLF MF  45        1.75    28.25     14.3%


IMPH - Impath  $52.88  *** Premium Selling! ***

Impath specializes in providing patient-specific cancer diagnostic
and prognostic information, with an expertise in difficult to
diagnose tumors, prognostic profiles in breast and other cancers,
and lymphoma/leukemia analysis.  The company currently works with
more than 7,400 physicians specializing in the treatment of cancer
patients, in 1,785 hospitals and 409 oncology practices.  Impath's
database currently contains more than 550,000 patient profiles.
In addition, Impath can link its information with that of its
tumor registry business to provide data on the full continuum of
care, from diagnosis through treatment and the outcomes on many
patients.  Impath is working on more than 50 projects with over 20
different pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies including 21 U.S.
based and four international clinical trials.

Impath is another issue that ended near the top of our list of
potential "premium selling" positions.  While it is certainly a
volatile stock, probability suggests that current option premiums
are overpriced and that "out-of-the-money" positions can be sold
with a favorable theoretical advantage.  Of course, our outlook is
based on the current price and/or trading range of the underlying
stock and the recent technical history or trend.  News and market
sentiment will have an effect on the issue so review the position
thoroughly and make your own decision about the future outcome of
the play.

IMPH - Impath  $52.88

PLAY (aggressive - neutral/credit strangle):

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

Sell Call JAN 80   QPH AP  33        2.75    82.75    17.0% ***
Sell Put  JAN 35   QPH MG  8         1.75    33.25    11.7% ***


Sell Call JAN 75   QPH AO  27        3.38    78.38    19.9%
Sell Put  JAN 37.5 QPH MU  9         2.31    35.19    14.7%



VRTS - Veritas  $104.88  *** Sector Slump! ***

Veritas Software is an independent supplier of storage management
software.  The company's products help to improve the levels of
centralization, control, automation and manageability in computing
environments.  In addition, Veritas' products offer protection
against data loss and file corruption, allow rapid recovery after
disk or computer system failure, enable IT data managers to work
efficiently with large numbers of files, and make it possible to
manage data distributed on large networks of computer systems
without harming productivity or interrupting users.  The company's
products also provide continuous availability of data in clustered
computer systems that share disk resources.  They develop and sell
products for most popular operating systems, including versions of
UNIX and Windows NT, and they also provide a range of services to
assist its customers in planning and implementing their storage
management solutions.

Data storage has been a popular sector in recent months and data
management software is the key to making a system work effectively.
The fastest-growing independent software company in this group is
Veritas and in its most recent quarter, their revenue increased by
73%, far outpacing the competition.  Veritas is now positioned to
benefit from the shift toward storage, and analysts believe that
it can sustain a 50% growth rate over the next three to four years.
Unfortunately, while we like this company in the long-term, the
overall price trend of Veritas is neutral-bearish and reflects a
pronounced negative divergence from an intermediate-period moving
average.  In addition, today's decline came on increasing selling
pressure and a short-term support area (the 25-DMA) was violated.
The range near $125-$130 has heavy overhead supply and should also
provide resistance for any future rallies.  Based on the market and
sector outlook, the share value has little chance of reaching our
sold positions before the January options expiration.

VRTS - Veritas  $104.88

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

Sell Call JAN 150  VUQ AJ  208       2.56   152.56     8.9%
Sell Call JAN 155  VUQ AK  508       2.06   157.06     7.4%
Sell Call JAN 160  VUQ AL  684       1.69   161.69     6.1% ***

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