Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 01/23/2001

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The Option Investor Newsletter                  Tuesday 01-23-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
        01-23-2001        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10649.80 + 71.57 10679.10 10553.80 1.22 bln   1973/ 861
NASDAQ   2840.39 + 82.48  2845.39  2736.28 2.28 bln   2393/1456
S&P 100   712.04 +  8.87   713.45   700.39   totals   4366/2317
S&P 500  1360.40 + 17.50  1362.90  1339.63           65.3%/34.7%
RUS 2000  502.06 + 11.91   502.07   490.08
DJ TRANS 3002.00 + 32.15  3003.91  2960.23
VIX        23.86 -  2.08    26.37    23.77
Put/Call Ratio      0.60

Is That A Rally About To Breakout?

After an opening dip caused by weak earnings reports on Monday night
the markets rallied on various reports and upgrades by late morning.
The volume was light but the bullish sentiment is building. Dell
warned yesterday and was up +.88 today. Stocks are rising on bad news
and that is a sure sign of a bottom. Advances beat declines by more
than a 2:1 ratio and new highs are beating new lows 7:1. The expected
pull back on profit taking from the +500 point gain over the last
two weeks was wimpy at best. The barely negative showing on Monday
was severely trounced by the strong gains today. Buyers are coming
off the sidelines and there are no sellers. Up volume on all markets
today was 2.55 billion and down volume only 914 million, almost a
3:1 margin.

The dip at the open, driven mostly by the Dell, TXN and AXP warnings,
was jumped on by buyers anxious to put money to work before the
coming Fed meeting. We will not know if it was the right decision
until after the speech by Greenspan on Thursday. The fact that buyers
came into the market after three serious warnings is nothing short of
bullish. Earnings remain center stage but if investors have decided
to ignore the bad news then any good news should power us higher.

The earnings parade continued today with some outstanding winners.
Compaq, who had already warned, beat the reduced estimates by two
cents. They did say they were going to take a charge of $1.8 billion
which was mostly due to the decline in their investment in CMGI.
CPQ gained +$3 in after hours after affirming full year guidance
of +20% to +25%. They did say the next quarter would be difficult
but expected a recovery for the next two quarters.

BRCM also announced earnings that beat the street by a penny and
the CEO said this was their best quarter ever. With revenues at
$1.1 billion they raised their guidance for analysts and estimated
better than +100% growth for 2001. Even though that sounds great
it is actually a decrease from their historical +30% per quarter
growth but we all know bigger is slower. BRCM was up +9 in after
hours at $141 and a long way from the $122.63 intraday low. That
would have been a great entry point for an aggressive naked put!

Another fallen angel that announced today was EMC. After trading
at -50% off their yearly high on worries about slowing sales, EMC
announced profits that beat the street by two cents on revenue
that soared by +40%. Profits grew by +50% in the same period. The
company said rising software sales was creating a strong demand
for storage devices and this was their strongest fourth quarter
ever. The CEO said there was simply no slowdown in sight and
business was booming. The stock had been plagued lately with
persistent rumors they would miss earnings and traded as low as
$53 this month. EMC closed at $79.56 today.

SEBL also announced earnings that beat the street by a nickel
and jumped about +10% in after hours. SEBL posted $.20 which
beat estimates of $.15 by a nickel on revenue that more than
doubled. Earnings of $106 million far outstripped the $39 mil
earned last year in the same quarter. SEBL was up over +$8 in
after hours to $85.94.

QLGC announced earnings that beat the street by two cents and
LRCX beat estimates by a nickel. There were no major earnings
disappointments today and that helped the bullish sentiment and
drove the markets higher. AXP, which warned yesterday, was
upgraded today by Merrill Lynch and gained +1.50. Dell warned
and gained +.88. Investors are ignoring the bad news with the
idea that the Fed is going to cut rates, the economy will soar
and 201Ks will turn back into 401Ks again. Is that storm clouds
I see in our future?

The generally accepted concept is that the Fed will cut rates
another -.50% next Wednesday. This event is quickly being priced
into the market. The problem is the likelihood that it will not
occur as expected. The Fed tends to telegraph its intentions
far in advance of the actual event. I know there was no advance
warning on the -.50% cut several weeks ago but that was a
political event not an economic event.

The problem I see is the over whelming positive sentiment from
the Fed members. Seven Fed officials have recently dismissed
fears of recession and are preaching calming words about an
economic rebound soon. Michael Moskow, president of the Chicago
Fed, said recently that job growth was strong and the economy
was not heading into a recession. Echoing that same sentiment
was Anthony Santomero, president of the Philadelphia Fed, and
Cathy Minehan, president of the Boston Fed, both of which see
moderate but positive growth for the economy in 2001. Robert
McTeer, president of the Dallas Fed, expressed doubt that the
economy would shrink and Jack Guynn, president of the Atlanta
Fed said the low unemployment rate would act as a safety net
for consumer confidence. Probably the most vocal opponent is
William Poole, president of the St Louis Fed who said that
growth prospects remain excellent.

Now here is the scenario as I see it. Greenspan has a chance
to talk to the markets during his testimony to the Senate
Budget Committee on Thursday. Investors were worried that
Alan saw something coming in the economy that no one else
saw when he cut rates by 50 basis points. Inquiring minds
want to know what it was. While I maintain it was the Bush
tax cut proposal he took aim at, he may use this event as
an opportunity to answer those questions. The Fed normally
has a blackout period of one week before a FOMC meeting.
Still, Greenspan is likely to take the center stage spotlight
this Thursday and either try and fix the misguided worry
about the unseen monster under the bed OR make another
political statement about a dangerous (his words) tax cut.
In either case I expect Greenspan to say something that will
cool the market, not heat it up. If the rest of the Fed is
talking down a recession then it is unlikely that they will
cut by 50 basis points. If the last cut was political then
even more reason not to rush into another 50 point cut.

The problem with all of this stems from the assumed 50 basis
point cut already being priced into the market. While a cut
of 25 basis points would be good long term it would produce
a "buy the rumor, sell the news" drop. Perish the thought
that the almost +600 point Nasdaq rally from the January
lows would cause the Fed to think the market was heating up
too fast and not cut rates at all! That would be a disaster.
My guess is a 25 point cut to keep the pressure on Bush to
justify the tax cut and to take pressure off the economy.

My point to all of this is Greenspan has rocked the markets
both ways by hundreds of points many times in the past. Just
remember back to the "irrational exuberance" speech and the
disaster that followed. Any time Greenspan is in the spotlight
we should have our hands in our pockets protecting our meager
bankrolls until the danger is passed. I would strongly suggest
you protect yourself against a possible verbal bomb on Thursday.
It has happened several times in the past and will happen again
as long as Greenspan is in power. With the Nasdaq up +25% from
its January lows, it would not be unthinkable that Greenspan
would want to "talk" the market back into a more gradual assent.
With the VIX at 23.86 and at three month lows we should already
have our finger on the sell trigger. Were you thinking about
buying or selling tomorrow? Should you reconsider?

The April seminar speaker list is already shaping up nicely.
We already have four nationally known speakers, names you
see and hear on CNBC constantly, and several more we are working
with. If you are thinking about attending don't wait long. Every
spring seminar we have ever had sold out. See below for details.

Enter passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown

Spring Options Workshop and Bootcamp
April 5th-9th, Denver Colorado

OptionInvestor is proud to announce our third annual Spring
option workshop in Denver Colorado. This power packed five-day
event is structured to fully educate you on advanced option
strategies and will make you a better and more profitable trader.

If you attended the March Denver Expo last year and thought it
was the best function you had ever attended... You haven't seen
anything yet! Great food, entertainment, education and just
plain fun in sunny Denver. The biggest complaint in March was
the massive weight gain experienced by the attendees from the
gourmet menu. We know how to put on a function. Ask anyone who
came last March!

We guarantee the speaker lineup to be second to none. In the
October seminar not only did we have Jim Brown and over 15 of
the OIN staff but Steve Nison, the father of modern candlestick
charting. Also, Dick Arms, creator of the Arms Index or the Trin
Indicator, Gregory Spear, author of the Spear Report, Stan Kim,
founder of the Snail Trader System and Jim Crimmins, president
of TradersAcounting.com. We promise the lineup this April will
exceed your expectations again!

This is not a beginner seminar but if you feel the need to brush
up on the basic trading strategies then we have an optional boot
camp the day before the four day seminar begins. If you have
traded options before and you are comfortable with the basic
strategies then this seminar will take you to a new trading
level. If you have been trading options for sometime and are
ready to broaden your knowledge and improve your trading results
in all kinds of markets then this is for you. Meet and interact
in a small group setting with the writers you have seen in
OptionInvestor for the last four years.

We are starting the seminar with an optional one day boot camp
which will cover all the basic strategies, calls, puts, leaps,
covered calls, naked puts, spreads, straddles, etc. This will
help investors not familiar with all the basic strategies get
up to speed before the intensive education and the advanced
material in the main seminar. The boot camp will be 8 hrs of
personal instruction by the OIN staff.

The main seminar will begin with a reception, dinner and
entertainment on Thursday night and continue non-stop until
noon on Monday. We mean non-stop. We don't quit until you do
and many optional sessions last until 10:PM or later.

The detailed schedule will be posted in about two weeks. There
will not be individual breakout sessions during the day. Each
topic will be covered in 1-2 hr general sessions taught by one
or more OptionInvestor staff and presented on three giant screens.
In the evening we will offer five of our popular chalk talk
sessions for that personal question and answer interaction.

The list of instructors is led by Jim Brown and will include
many OIN staff with outstanding guest speakers during lunch
and dinner each day. The Spring Denver Expo seminars fill up
fast and seating is limited! SIGN UP NOW or risk missing out
on this opportunity.

Unlike other seminars with only two or three instructors, you
will get in-depth knowledge from many different instructors
who are experts in their field.

The cost for the four-day workshop, April 6th to 9th is only
$2995 (spouse only $1495). This includes breakfast, lunch and
supper each day. All course materials, a CD of all the
presentations and a professional video package of the entire
seminar so you can review the material at home in the comfort
of your living room.  There is also a $500 discount if you
have attended a prior OIN seminar.

This is not a prepackaged presentation that gets repeated over
and over with stale information. This is a one-time production
and everything is fresh, live and as current as we can make it.
The videos will have your real time questions and answers and
not some from a prior class. Where else can you get intensive
yet personalized options education like this?

Do not delay as seating is very limited.
We guarantee you will not be disappointed!

You can pay for your education one bad trade at a time or you
can invest less money one time to learn how to do it right.

Click here for more info:


If you have not been to one of our Denver Expo seminars before
here are some comments from previous attendees:

The words herein are totally inadequate to express what I am
feeling about you and all the OptionInvestor organization. But
this medium is all I have. Thank you more than these few simple
words can say.

Wow, what a seminar! In my 25 years of investing I have attended
many instructional conferences, but I have never, never experienced
one like your Options Expo. The instructors were absolutely tops.
Subjects, generally were on target. Especially for me, the Skybox,
index funds/options and the early morning strategies and trading
were particularly great. The attention to the many details and
nuances were especially evident, and I guess most of the credit
that area goes to your great support team.

Now, the real challenge is to apply and implement the powerful
knowledge I was exposed to.

Sincerely and warmly,
Kevin Hughes, Denver


Jim & Staff,

I am sitting in the hotel room after a great 3 days in your
seminar. I can't tell you how pleased I am and want to thank
each of you for a job well done. Having been responsible for
events like this, albeit on a much smaller scale, I can recognize
all the hard work that went into the seminar. Each member of the
staff is to be congratulated!! The seminar confirmed my belief
that the OIN staff really cares about the success of their
subscribers. Jim, you all should be proud of the work you do to
enrich the lives of so many people. It is one thing to amass a
personal wealth. It is a much higher calling to help others meet
their goals in life. I was very impressed that you were emotional
in your closing remarks. You have so much to be proud of -- helping
people fish all over the world! Thanks again and I look forward
to attending another seminar in the future.

My best regards,
Jim Boettcher
Austin, Texas


I must say, that your seminar was outstanding!!! Sign me up for
next year. It is rare that a person of your position would share
so generously your knowledge of his trade. I hope that I will be
able to put into place much of what you taught. Every aspect of
the seminar was first class, from the hotel, to the food, the
instructors and the luncheon speakers. One of the biggest
surprises was your generosity in handing out material, and gifts.

Two weeks ago I attended a competing option seminar in Chicago
and all I got from the was coffee at the morning break, No
handouts, no food and half of the final day was promoting their
web site and additional classes. I must say your seminar far
exceeds what I got from them.

Sincerely yours,
Mike Lillis


Please pass on my thanks to the entire OIN group for a fabulous
EXPO. The seminar far surpassed any expectation that I would have
fathomed, had I attempted to! OIN has the right attitude and the
obvious ability to be a leader and I look forward to many years
of positive experiences with you folks.

Kind regards,
Gwen Richardson



I described this event to my friends as a life changing event!
(options aside) ,the quality of people, dedication, sacrifice
of their time (the second 40+ hours a week they don't have to
work but do) they do this because they care, wanting to help
others change their life dramatically (My wife thinks I was
oxygen deprived up there !) I came back a different person for
those who know me that says a lot. Now for the options side
I have to admit there was so much info to absorb, most of it
came to me on the 2000+- mile ride home it all started to fall
into place I feel Very confident (yes Jim this can be bad but
I know this now!) Notice the patience here guys! that's one
change I have a plan to stick to !

Allan O'Neill


Need we say more? If you want to learn how to be a better trader,
making more and losing less then you should come to this seminar.
We guarantee you will not be disappointed!

For more info:


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Floating Towards Judgment Day
By Austin Passamonte

When was the last time you remember flat markets at the heart of
earning's season? We've either rallied or plunged in the past but
tough to recall a recent period like this.

All eyes are focused on next week's FOMC and nothing else really
matters right now. Poor earnings report? "That's O.K., wait until
Tuesday" seems to be the consensus. The markets seem poised for
full rally mode from now until then.

This Thursday should be a prelude to next week's action as
Greenspan will be pounced upon by reporters jostling to be first
at popping the big question. They'll ask what the Fed intends to
do and who knows, maybe Al will flat-out tell us ahead of time.

Zero chance of that and even if he did, who could understand the
language anyway? We've yet to find a Thesaurus that lists half
the words that man's vocabulary spans.

Everyone expects a rate reduction by the Fed to open sideline
cash flood gates and usher in a powerful rally. While that would
be great and Market Sentiment will welcome such with mile-wide
open arms, we still reserve our customary suspicions.

First of all, daily-chart stochastic values are already at or
above 80% overbought levels in the NDX, SOX, SPX and OEX. While
they could remain pinned up there for days & weeks on end, it
does warn of underlying price action weakness. Anything short of
very good news from here will not support further upside, and the
only news markets care about now arrives next Tuesday.

Secondly, the same daily charts are forming very clear price
action/stochastic value bearish divergence. Stochastics are
posting higher highs while price action fails to do so. This
would be negated by further upside above respective highs or
confirmed by a downturn or slow stochastic bar turning down below
the 80% overbought range

The listed indexes must exceed these price levels before daily
stochastic values turn below 80% to negate a powerful bearish
reversal setup:

NDX: 3,000
CMP: 3,050
SPX:  1385
OEX:   740

Thirdly, the VIX is threatening to push outside it's daily-chart
lower Bollinger band. That would indicate call buying is
excessive and another "toppy" warning.

Lastly, commercial traders stubbornly cling to every last short
futures contract with vigor. They are voting $Billions that we do
not shoot into the stratosphere after the Fed announcement and
earnings season fade away.

On a bullish note, the Dow alone has daily-chart stochastic
values trying to emerge from extreme oversold and could easily
run to 11,000+. The big question is; would this come merely with
rotation of tired dollars from sector to sector or will money
finally flow into the markets?

Tech earnings pleased the street past closing bell and after-
hours markets are buzzing. Wednesday's session should start off
strong and bulls are hopeful it can ascend from there.

Bottom line: A .50 basis-cut next week by the Fed should fuel us
higher. Less than that could easily send us lower. All other
market news is on hold and doesn't affect price action at this
point in time. Until then, the next long-term direction is on

Today's surprise rally, feelings on the floor, CNBC yadda means
absolutely nothing. We've seen these sessions at least once a
week for over a month and all were followed by downdrafts next
session. This one "feels" different, but which of the previous
ones didn't?

The rest of this week and especially beginning of next promise to
be active with numerous daily trades. Where we go long-term
promises to come clear next Wednesday morning. Trade carefully
until then!


Tuesday 01/23 close: 23.86

30-yr Bonds
Tuesday 01/23 close: 5.58%

Support/Resistance Indicator
The Index Support/Resistance(S/R)Ratio is a formula used to
gauge possible support or resistance based on open-interest
disparity. Ratio listed is percentage of calls to puts or
puts to calls respectively.

Support is factored from dividing puts by calls at strike
levels beneath index closing price. Resistance is factored
from dividing calls by puts at strike levels above current
closing price.

  (Open Interest)       Calls        Puts          Ratio
S&P 100 Index (OEX)
750 - 735                4,777          293        51.37
730 - 715                5,605         1162         4.82

OEX close: 712.04

710 - 695                5,848        4,390          .75
690 - 675                3,566        4,976         1.40

Maximum calls: 700/3,171
Maximum puts : 650/4,151

Moving Averages
 10 DMA  695
 20 DMA  691
 50 DMA  703
200 DMA  760

NASDAQ 100 Index (NDX/QQQ)
 77 - 75                10,801         2,469         4.37
 74 - 72                17,832         1,261        14.14
 71 - 69                47,099         5,049         9.33

QQQ(NDX)close: 67.76

 66 - 64                40,344        19,493          .48
 63 - 61                20,954        14,797          .71
 60 - 58                18,462        45,396         2.46

Maximum calls: 70/42,338
Maximum puts : 60/39,226

Moving Averages
 10 DMA 63
 20 DMA 61
 50 DMA 65
200 DMA 83

S&P 500 (SPX)
1425                   19,994         4,730          4.22
1400                   13,624         1,408          9.68
1375                    9,888         6,473          1.53

SPX close: 1360.40

1350                   14,213        12,130           .85
1325                   12,037         8,615           .72
1300                    1,667        14,472          8.68

Maximum calls: 1425/19,944
Maximum puts : 1300/14,472

Moving Averages
 10 DMA 1330
 20 DMA 1323
 50 DMA 1336
200 DMA 1420


CBOT Commitment Of Traders Report: Friday 01/19
Weekly COT report discloses positions held by small specs
and commercial traders of index futures contracts on the
Chicago Board Of Trade.

Small specs are the general trading public with commercials being
financial institutions. Commercials are historically on the
correct side of future trend changes while small specs are not.
Extreme divergence between each signals a possible market turn in
favor of the commercial trader's direction.

                     Small Specs             Commercials
DJIA futures     (Current) (Previous)    (Current) (Previous)
Open Interest
Net Value         +1909      -108          -8322     -5438

Total Open
interest %       (+20.07%)  (-1.37%)     (-34.26%)  (-21.58%)
                 net-long   net-short    net-short  net-short

Open Interest
Net Value         +1131      +1861         -4045      -3982
Total Open
Interest %      (+6.51%)   (+11.29%)     (-6.39%)   (-7.13%)
                net-long   net-long      net-short  net-short

S&P 500
Open Interest
Net Value         +69254     +59586       -89836      -86815
Total Open
Interest %      (+37.35%)  (+37.29%)     (-11.84%)  (-11.19%)
                net-long   net-long      net-short  net-short

What COT Data Tells Us
Indices: The disparity between the Commercials and Small Specs
has increased on the DJIA with Commercials showing a significant
increase in their net-short positions and the Small-Specs moving

Interest Rates: Commercials are moderately short T-Bond and
T-Note futures. (mildly Bearish)

Currencies: Commercials continue to build heavily short Euro
futures while small specs build net long. Small specs are betting
on interest rate reduction while commercials remain skeptical.

Energies: Commercials are net-long crude & oil products at one
year extremes. These producers are hedgers and almost always take
the opposite side of expected market action to lock-in production
prices. They expect lower prices from here (Bearish)

Metals: Commercials are moving to net-long in Gold, Silver and
Copper from short positions.  This has happened quickly and they
expect higher precious metals soon.(Bullish)

COT/CRB: This commodity index measures the entire spectrum of
commodities in overall bullish or bearish outlook.  It is now at
a one-year high for commercial bullishness, meaning the outlook
for commodities is long-term positive while equities as a mirror
are considered long-term negative.

Data compiled as of Tuesday 01/16 by the CFTC.



Please visit this link for Market Posture:



Do You Know What Volatility Is?
By Lee Lowell

Last week I discussed what the basic inputs are to arrive at an
option's premium.  They are broken up into two categories:
"intrinsic value" and "extrinsic value."  Intrinsic value is the
portion of the premium that is "in-the-money" and extrinsic value
is the portion that is "out-of-the-money."  The extrinsic value is
comprised of "time until expiration" and "volatility."  Since we
know that time until expiration is easily calculated (each option
has only a set number of days in its life), we don't need further
discussion of that part.  What I would like to discuss further is
the tricky concept of volatility.

As many new traders dive into the world of options trading, they
are consumed with the idea of making a killing.  Just buy a few
call (or put) options at a fraction of the cost of the underlying
stock price and wait for the stock to move.  That's all well and
good if you have perfect timing.  But since a majority of us don't
have exact timing, we need to make sure that when we do buy or
sell options, that we do it when the premium is at a favorable
volatility level.

Most people don't even know what volatility is when it comes to
options trading. You can be correct about the direction of the
market and still lose money on your option contracts.  This is due
to bad timing, and/or not picking the correct strike price, and/or
not taking volatility into consideration.  Since we know that
timing is easily figured by the amount of days left and picking
the correct strike price is a matter of personal preference, we
still need to figure how we can tell if volatility is allowing us
to buy undervalued or overvalued options.  This is what volatility
tells us about an option - whether it's cheap, expensive, or fairly
valued.  Let's find out how.

Volatility as it applies to the marketplace is a term that
describes the movement of individual stocks, indices, and options.
The movements can be big, small, fast, slow, sideways, etc.
Volatility gives us a way to measure those movements.  There are
two basic types of volatility: "historical" (or statistical) and
"implied."  Historical volatility (HV) tells us how the underlying
stock or index has been moving over some period in the past.  Each
day's closing price of the stock or index is used in a calculation
to give us the historical volatility figure.  HV is quoted as a %
number and can be figured for any amount of time you wish.  Wall
Street usually defaults to a 20-day or 30-day HV.  It is like a
moving average using each day's closing price as the inputs.  HV
gives us an idea of how the stock has moved in the past and how it
can move in the future.  If IBM has an HV of 55%, that tells us
that over the next year we can expect it to fluctuate in a range
of +/- 55% of its present price with a 68% degree of accuracy.  If
you want to see how IBM has moved over the last 30 days, then you
would only use the most recent 30 days of data.  There are places
on the web where you can retrieve any stock or index's HV which
can help you predict how the stock might move in the future.
Needless to say, a stock with bigger fluctuations will have a
higher volatility reading and vice versa.

"Implied volatility" (IV) is a number that corresponds with the
options only.  Each option on a stock or index has a component
called IV.  It is also a % number that tells us where the market
thinks the underlying stock will move in the future over the life
of the option.  In essence, the option's market is making a
prediction of where the stock will move.  IV is also an indicator
of expensiveness or cheapness of options.  IBM's $100 call has an
IV of 60% compared to its HV of 55%.  This is telling us that the
option's market thinks that IBM will move around more than what it
has done in the past.  Why?  Maybe because its earnings are due
very soon or because the Fed is meeting and nobody knows what the
outcomes will be.

In most cases, HV and IV will be different and that's where the
trading opportunities can occur.  Some people like to compare HV
to IV and this is how you tell if an option is cheap or expensive.
Some sell options when IV is greater than HV and buy options when
IV is lower than HV.  That may work for some people, but I like to
concentrate on using IV alone.  I consider the professionals on
the option's exchanges to have all the most recent and pertinent
information regarding a stock's options, so I will use their
prices as the most reflective of where the stock might go.

So what I do instead, is to compare current IV levels to past IV
levels of the options.  There are also places on the web that can
give you past IV readings along with graphical analysis.  What you
will come to see is that each stock's options has a range that its
IV has been trading in over some period in the past.  Most of the
information I use spans back two years in time.  When the IV is
currently much higher than its normal range, then I know that the
options are currently very expensive for some reason.  When the IV
is currently much lower than its normal range, then I know options
are relatively cheap compared to its past and option buying
opportunities can exist.  What usually happens is that over time,
the IV will move back into its "normal" range after it has gotten
really high or low.  As the IV moves, it takes the option premiums
with it.  When IV is high, then premiums are high too.  When IV is
low, premiums are cheaper than normal.

Example:  IBM $100 call with 55% IV = $10
          IBM $100 call with 25% IV = $5

You can see that IV has an effect on the premium.  This doesn't
mean that 55% is overpriced or that 25% is underpriced.  This is
because we don't know what IBM's past IV levels have been.  Say
that IBM's past 2 year average IV has been 85%.  This means that
both of these options are undervalued when compared to IBM's past,
except that one is MORE undervalued than the other.

If IBM's past 2 year average IV had been 45%, then the 55% option
would be overvalued and the 25% option would be extremely
undervalued.  If you have a real-time data feed with good options
data, the IV should always be available.  But not all vendors will
have the past IV levels.

This is the way that I price any option before I decide to buy or
sell.  My gauge is to always compare current IV levels to that of
the past.  Ultimately, the price of the stock on expiration day
will decide if you are profitable or not on your position, but
knowing whether you started out by buying or selling undervalued
or overvalued options can increase your returns by a few points.
If you bought an IBM $100 call at $5 when IV was at 70%, and IBM
closes at $110, then you made $5.  But if you bought that same call
when IV was at 40%, then you might have only paid $2.50 for it and
made a profit of $7.50.  Even though you were correct in your
direction of IBM's movement, the profit % could've been different.
Now if IBM closed at $95 on expiration day, you would either have
lost $5 or $2.50.  So when you are wrong about the direction, your
loss % can be different too.

That's it!  I hope this helps some of you become more aware of what
volatility is and how to use it to your advantage.

Good luck.



Review of My January Plays
By Scott Martindale

January was a terrific month to be a bullish options trader, with
some nice buyable dips.  But I was reminded that one or two bad
plays can put quite a dent in an otherwise fruitful game plan.

I sold and profitably closed naked put positions in Portal
Software (NASDAQ: PRSF), Extreme Networks (NASDAQ: EXTR), Capstone
Turbine (NASDAQ: CPST), MRV Communications (NASDAQ: MRVC), and
Ariba (NASDAQ: ARBA), although not without some significant
heartburn.  After being tortured by PRSF in November, I figured
lightning wouldn't strike twice.  So I sold PRSF Jan 7.5's in late
December when it looked like it had found a base after that horrid
November slam.  I bought them back when the stock spiked to nearly
$10 on Jan 12 for 0.25.  I sold Jan 40 puts on EXTR on Dec 22
after it had sold off in reaction to a negative pre-announcement
from a competitor, and then began to recover.  EXTR consolidated
laterally for awhile, and I bought the puts back on Jan 9 at about
the same stock price, but by then much of the time premium had

This is a great example of how fearful sell offs often can provide
great entry points for naked puts (volatility creates high
premiums that erode quickly); whereas buying calls (with their
equally high premiums) might not pay off.  Of course, the downside
risk of naked puts is still much greater.

CPST was actually my favorite play for the month because it didn't
depend on an unusual sell off.  The technicals were turning up on
Dec 22 as the stock bounced off strong support at $20, so I sold
the Jan 20 puts.  As the stock moved up strongly in response to
the California energy crisis, I closed the position on Jan 12 as
the stock approached $35 when the puts hit my standing limit order
to buy back at 0.125.  I always put in a limit buy-to-close order
on my naked put positions at a nominal level like 0.125, 0.25, or
0.50, and I'll often adjust the price up to close a position early
if the situation warrants.

I'm getting to like MRVC, which gave me another month of high
premium while holding the line.  In December, I sold the $15 level
and it held until expiration before dipping to near $10.  At that
level, I felt very confident selling the Jan 10 puts on Dec 26 for
1.0625.  On Friday they expired worthless.

In my column last week, I mentioned my play on ARBA, and it worked
out great.  After reporting great earnings, analysts brought up
some questions regarding the "quality" of their revenues (lots of
outstanding receivables), and the stock sold off a bit.  On Jan
12, I sold the Jan 35 puts for 2.125, and $35 turned out to be
nice support as I let the options expire worthless.

However, I gave back too much of my gains on two bad plays.  One
play in particular frustrated me: Jan 17.5 naked puts on
Tumbleweed (NASDAQ: TMWD).  You'd think that I would have learned
my lesson about succumbing to the tempting premiums on these
highly speculative software plays, no matter how well positioned
they might appear.  But no, after my debacle with PRSF at the $40
level in November, I again ventured in during an uncertain time.

And why not?  TMWD seemed to have survived the worst of the Nasdaq
sell off, holding steady in the $20 range for over two months
during the Nov/Dec market weakness.  I felt pretty good about TMWD
at $19 on Dec 28 while other stocks were enduring heavy tax loss
selling, so I sold the Jan 17.5's for 2.0625.  But on the first
trading day of the New Year, TMWD dropped suddenly when they
announced that their end of year sales efforts failed to hit
targets, and I was caught by surprise with a $7 price drop.  Did I
learn anything from my previous experience with PRSF?  Yes I did.
Rather than wait for a little bounce on another day, I closed the
position for 8.0.  This saved me the pain of another $7 drop the
next day, and today it still hasn't recovered much.

Did I learn anything from my prior experience with PRSF?  Yes,
indeed!  This time I contained my losses early rather than waiting
for the elusive bounce, and eschewed rolling out to the next
month, instead focusing on other more appealing plays.

My other naked put loser was RF Micro Devices (NASDAQ: RFMD),
which I sold on Dec 28 based on a mention in OIN coupled with
favorable technicals.  When the stock was around $29.50, I sold
the Jan 30's for a juicy 3.50, but later closed the position at
7.25.  It didn't crater like TMWD -- it just didn't work out.
Actually, I can handle these on occasion.  They're an expected
part of the game.  It's the big gap-down sell offs that are hard to

I continue to hold Feb 80 calls on Applied Micro Circuits
(NASDAQ: AMCC), although they are still around the same price I
bought them even though the stock price has gone up substantially.
This is why I prefer to sell premium.  Also, I'm holding Feb 10
calls on PRSF, which I bought at year-end after selling the shares
(that were put to me in late November) for tax losses.  I
anticipated a recovery of this important company after tax loss
selling subsided.

In my long-term account, my expectation of a near-term trading
range prompted me to lock in some gains in January with covered
calls to generate some cash for buying any significant weakness.
[Like I mentioned last week, I was heavily invested at year-end.]
I sold Jan 25 calls on BMC Software (NASDAQ: BMCS), Jan 35's on
CPST, Jan 160's on Biotech Holders Trust (AMEX: BBH), Jan 30's on
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), and Jan 60 calls on JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ:
JDSU), and I was called out of all but BBH.  All but INTC had seen
nice short-term run-ups when I sold calls, and they have all gone
up further since.  Nonetheless, in this market climate, I'm
choosing to sell into strength at opportune times.

JDSU provided an interesting pre-earnings play.  Although I love
JDSU, I expected some weakness on expiration day after such a
strong three-week run-up.  I sold Jan 60's for 1.6875 at the close
on Jan 18 (after purchasing the shares on Dec 22 for an incredibly
cheap $40).  Rather than buy back the calls on Friday's closing
profit-taking, I allowed them to be called at $60, and then bought
more shares today at $58.

Lately, I've been shopping for good buys in my long-term account.
I've picked up some drugs and biotechs.  However, I have hesitated
and missed some good buys, as well.  Over the past week or so, I
liked Calpine (NYSE: CPN) at $30, Enron (NYSE: ENE) at $70, and
Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) at $70, but was filled on none.  Maybe
I'll have another chance soon.

Last week I mentioned that I was near-term cautious going into
earnings season.  Although many of the big tech names have
reported less than stellar earnings, this was apparently already
priced in, and many emerging leaders like AMCC and EMC (NYSE: EMC)
have been terrific.  So, this week I upgraded my near-term outlook
to "cautiously optimistic" going into the Fed meeting.


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When we drop a pick it doesn't mean we are recommending a sell
on that play. Many dropped picks go on to be very profitable.
We drop a pick because something happened to change its
profile. News, price, direction, etc. We drop it because we
don't want anyone else starting a new play at that time.
We have hundreds of new readers with each issue who are
unfamiliar with the previous history for that pick and we
want them to look at any current pick as a valid play.


NETE $47.44 +2.31 (+2.31) The time has come to make preparations
and close out any open positions.  Today's 8.6%, or $3.87 climb
to $49 offered an excellent opportunity to lock in gains.  If
you still have calls in play, consider selling into subsequent
strength during the next two days.  Netegrity is scheduled to
report earnings this Thursday, January 25th after the market
close.  We're dropping the call play this evening to provide
ample opportunity to strategize your exit.  OI never recommends
holding over an announcement as it's not worth the risk of
getting caught in a post-earnings' decline.

CMCSK $43.06 -1.00 (-1.88) A day of sideways movement for the
markets translated into a day of sideways movement for shares of
CMCSK yesterday as the stock pulled back 1.95 percent on 60% of
ADV.  The close put the stock just below its 5-dma, now at $44.
Today, that moving average acted as a resistance point as CMCSK
headed lower, falling 2.27 percent on 75% of ADV.  While the
stock found support intra-day, bouncing at our stop price at $42,
moving average resistance appears to be formidable with the 5-dma
overhead as well as today's close below the 10-dma (at $43.60).
With the stochastics also rolling over, we are taking this stock
off our call play list.

NETA $8.38 +0.13 (+0.13) NETA is inching higher, but its slow
pace has caused a bit of concern.  Instead of waiting around for
the stock to move and see our time premium decay, we're dropping
coverage in search of more movement.  Traders may choose to exit
positions at current levels early tomorrow or wait for a lift
up to the $8.50 level.

WCG $18.00 -0.63 (-1.88) Last week, we witnessed WCG stall at the
$20 level, and we had speculated that movement was no more than
normal consolidation.  Unfortunately, WCG fell from its base
yesterday and continued sliding lower today.  Volume has been
relatively light in this week's sell-off.  However, the lack of
buying interest has left us no choice but to drop coverage.  Use
any rebound Wednesday morning to exit positions.

OPTV $16.13 -0.63 (-2.13) We're dropping coverage on OPTV this
evening due to the rollover at the $20 level last Friday.  The
resistance level proved too strong and subsequently snuffed out
OPTV's momentum.  The stock is now sliding lower along its
50-dma which now stands at $16.55.  Use any bounce off that
level to exit open positions early tomorrow morning.


MMC $104.13 +4.13 (+4.82) It's been a fun and very profitable
ride down from the $110 level, so you can understand the
disappointment of having to end the play on MMC.  Although we
continued to have circulating cycles of intraday spreads from
which to procure lucrative gains, Friday's intraday dip to $97
was the end of the line.  Thereafter, the stock consolidated
around $99 and $101.  Today's high-volume move to the upside not
only shot MMC through our protective stop at $104, but it also
left no doubt the downtrend line had hit bottom.

WLP $97.69 +4.19 (+8.82) Wellpoint provided some opportunities
for put players on Friday and Monday, with roll overs from
the $88, $89, and $93 levels.  However, strength returned to
the HMO stocks today.  It remains to be seen whether this is
the start of a new lasting trend in the sector, or recovery
from oversold levels, but WLP closed above our stop level at
$97 today, and we are dropping it tonight.

AFL $62.25 +2.25 (+4.75) An upgrade to a strong buy from Banc
of America Securities and Lehman Brothers put the brakes on our
put play.  We have been seeing some sector rotation back into
insurance company stocks in the last two days.  It is premature
to attempt to determine if this is a new trend, or a rebound
from an oversold level, but Aflac closed above our stop price
and we are dropping it tonight.

DGX $106.13 +4.00 (+8.70)  While the rally in DGX's shares was
on very low volume for the last few days, and the stock may very
well rollover with weakness in the medical products sector,
DGX closed above our stop level at $104, and so we are dropping
it tonight.  As a safety precaution, we always recommend that
traders check for weakness in the sector before initiating put

CB $73.38 +1.44 (+4.69) Shares of Chubb rallied yesterday, as
traders became a little tentative ahead of Alan Greenspan's
speech on Thursday, parked some money back into the defensive
issues.  Moving strong higher in early morning trading, the stock
spent the rest of the day trading sideways in a tight range to
close up $3.25 or 4.73 percent on slightly higher than average
volume.  Today, the company that it would bid for British insurer
Hiscox.  The market appears to favor such a move, as the stock
closed up over 2 percent on over twice the ADV.  In doing so, our
stop price of $73 was tripped and with that, we are taking our
profits and dropping coverage.

LH $131.50 +7.50 (+10.31) It looks like the bulls finally
charged the bears, and the bears flinched.  After declining for
much of the past 3 weeks, LH saw some solid buying which helped
the stock to move up nearly 8% today, closing the session just
below our stop at $132.  Technically, it looks like the downhill
ride may be over, as LH has now moved through its descending
trendline after bouncing from solid support near $120.  Combine
this with solid volume and a daily stochastics oscillator
threatening to turn up out of oversold, and the signs are clear.
It is time to take our profits and run, especially since any
open positions should have been stopped out during today's
strong upward move.

PMI $53.81 +1.69 (+4.88) As we mentioned on Sunday, PMI will
release its earnings tomorrow morning before the open, bringing
an end to our play.  The pre-earnings jitters gave us a nice
ride down all the way through Friday's session, when we hit
rock-bottom near $49.  This week has been a mirror image, with
the stock recovering some of the ground it lost, actually moving
through our $53 stop early today.  So whether you got out
because of earnings or a violation of our stop, all positions
should be closed by now.

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The Option Investor Newsletter                  Tuesday 01-23-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
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RATL $50.57 +2.76 (+3.70) Rational rallied with the Nasdaq on
Tuesday, and most importantly, cleared tough resistance at $50,
which has been eluding the stock for weeks.  Strength in the
software index, and good company earnings from other technology
companies are helping our play.  Today's volume was about 20%
higher than the three month average, and could possibly propel
RATL up to its next major resistance levels at $52.50, and
$60.  Intra day support is found at $47, and $48, both of which
could be entry points for aggressive traders.  Continue to watch
the software index and other software stocks like ORCL and MSFT
for strength, and to set stops at $46.

ARBA $41.78 +4.97 (+3.53) A nice rally in the NASDAQ and a
robust earnings report from rival, FreeMarkets (FMKT), gave
shares of ARBA a big boost today.  By mid-afternoon, a burst of
volume saw buyers taking ARBA through the $40 resistance to a
pinnacle of $42.25.  The heavy trading into the close could
indicate more buying tomorrow in an advancing marketplace.  But
whatever you do, wait until after amateur hour before buying
into the building momentum!  And please, consider putting stops
in place.  In response to ARBA's breakout, we've raised our stop
to $38 from $32 to guard our existing profits.  On the downside,
some back filling could occur in the coming sessions if traders
look to take profits; however, the $39 and $40 levels should
emerge as support on a pullback and thus; offer a variety of
entry points.  On the upswing above $42, there's no real
resistance until ARBA approaches $50 and the correlating 50-dma

A $62.75 +0.00 (-2.78) Consolidation in its truest form.  After
rising to the occasion on Thursday and Friday with peaks at $68
and $67.50, respectively, shares of A experienced a mild
pullback to the $62 and $63 levels this week.  The profit taking
was typical and actually provided us with viable entry points
into potential upside momentum.  The current consolidation level
sits above the critical 200-dma line ($60.82) and our $61
protective stop.  With that in mind, a more conservative
approach would be to wait for another high-volume breakout
through the 5-dma line ($64.11) along with convincing action
above the former $64 resistance level before taking positions.

SNPS $55.13 +0.06 (+1.94) The breakout through the $52 level on
Friday generated enough momentum to carry SNPS even higher this
week.  On robust volume, SNPS extended its price level upwards
of $55 for a 3.7% overall gain.  The rallying NASDAQ was an
obvious catalyst, but a Buy rating from Dain Rausher Wessels
along with an upgraded price target to $70 from $56 also had a
bullish effect.  Going forward, look for $54 and $55 to buoy the
share price during market fluctuations or periods of
consolidation.  If SNPS experiences a breakout through the
$56.50 resistance, look for entries into the momentum off the
above-mentioned levels.  A riskier approach is to target shoot
on deep pullback to the 5-dma ($52.76), which is just above our
$52 protective stop.  If you choose this more aggressive
strategy, keep stops tight.

PLAB $34.19 +0.44 (+0.56) Shares of PLAB rose off the $33
support on three times the average trading volume!  The shot of
adrenaline came from a Merrill Lynch Buy recommendation.  The
resumption of bullish activity is a good sign that PLAB can make
a big breakout through the $35 ceiling.  The building wedge
formation also indicates a major move to the upside is
forthcoming; but of course, there's never any guarantees in the
marketplace.  The more risk-adverse traders should wait for the
momentum to carry PLAB upwards of the $35 resistance before
beginning new plays; although strong moves off the 5-dma
($33.60) also offers a reasonable entry level.  In an effort to
reduce risk, we've tightened our stop and upped it to $32 in
accordance with the trailing 10-dma ($32.11).

MERQ $94.81 +3.25 (-0.56) Strong moving average support has
allowed shares of MERQ to hold up these past few sessions as it
consolidates its recent gains.  Bouncing without fail off the
50-dma (currently sitting at $88.10) the past few sessions, tests
of this level have proven themselves to be ideal entry points.
The stock appears to be encountering resistance at the
psychological $100 level but support below is building, with the
5-dma (now at $90.63) now caught up and the 10-dma (at $82.66)
quickly moving higher.  Today the stock advanced 3.55 percent,
buoyed by a rising NASDAQ and news that the company would
guarantee to double web site performance for customers who use
their hosted load testing service.  If continued upward momentum
allows MERQ to break above $95, this would allow for an entry on
strength while pullbacks to support from the 5 and 50-dma as well
as our stop price of $88 would give higher risk players a lower
entry price.  In both cases, confirm direction with that of
competitors BMCS and CPWR before making a play.

SLR $40.41 -0.33 (-1.54) On a flat day for the market yesterday,
shares of Solectron drifted lower, retreating $1.21 or 2.88
percent on 90% of ADV.  Despite the pullback, the stock found
support from its 5-dma line though it appears that it also
encountered resistance at the $42 level.  Today, the company
announced that it would acquire an OEM manufacturer Centennial
Technologies for about $108 million in stock.  This caused the
stock to gap down at the open but SLR spent the rest of the day
moving higher, closing down fractionally on average volume.  At
this point, what we would like to see is buying volume carry SLR
back above its 5-dma at $40.63, allowing conservative traders to
take a position.  For higher risk players, a bounce off the
10-dma at $38.94 could allow for an entry point with additional
support at $38 and our stop price of $37.  Considering the light
volume these past couple of sessions, we would recommend waiting
for volume and sector sympathy to confirm direction before making
a play.  So keep an eye on CLS, FLEX, JBL to gauge sector

UBS $174.85 +0.80 (+1.10) Ever since successfully filling the gap
and testing support at $165, shares of UBS have been trading
sideways in a tight range, between support at $171 and resistance
at $175.   Trading volume continues to be light and Monday's
action was no exception.  The stock closed up fractionally on
less than 30 percent of ADV to start off the week.  Today was yet
another example of sideways movement.  Closing fractionally once
again, volume was less than 20 percent of ADV.  In doing so, it
appears that there is some minor resistance just above $175, at
the $175.15 area.  What would give traders a definitive entry
point would be a strong move above its recent highs of $176.50,
with rallying in sector peers such as BSC, LEH, MWD.  We are
moving our stop up from $165 to $170.  A bounce off this level as
well as support from the 5 and 10-dma at $173.51 and $171.33
respectively) could allow aggressive traders to jump in.

WCOM $20.69 -0.13 (-1.31) Profit taking has been the theme so far
this week for WCOM, as traders sitting on substantial gains have
been taking some money off the table before Fed Chairman Alan
Greenspan's speech on Thursday.  On Monday WCOM gave back $1.19
or 5.4 percent on less than 85% of ADV.  Today the stock
successfully tested support at our stop price of $20 finishing
pretty much unchanged for the session on less than 70 percent of
ADV.  The low volume on the pullbacks so far this week is healthy
considering the massive run-up so far this year.  Another bounce
off the $20 level could allow aggressive traders to initiate a
play but before doing so, wait for the buyers to return in force.
 If WCOM can move back above the $21 level, this would allow for
a more conservative entry, correlating positive direction with
Merrill Lynch's Telecom HOLDR (TTH).  From there WCOM could find
resistance from its 5 and 10-dma at $21.85 and $21.53

AETH $55.34 +3.41 (+6.28) Off to a running start, our AETH play
managed to track higher again today, helped along by a steady
rally on the NASDAQ, and blowout earnings from OPWV last night.
Continuing to ride the upper Bollinger band upwards, AETH clawed
its way through the $55 resistance level, but the battle isn't
over yet.  After solidifying this victory, the bulls will need
to scale the 50-dma (looming at $58.06), followed by historical
resistance between $59-60.  AETH will need the support of a
positive NASDAQ to continue its rally as stochastics are now
solidly in overbought territory, and today's closing price is
nearly $3 above the upper Bollinger band.  After a 26% rise in
the past 3 sessions, a bit of profit taking is likely looming
ahead, although it has been encouraging to see volume remain
well above the ADV.  With a little over 2 weeks until the
company reports earnings on February 7th, there is time to wait
for a pullback before initiating new plays.  In order to protect
our gains, we have raised our stop to $50, and as long as the
stock doesn't drop below this level, we would look to open new
positions on any intraday dips.

BRCD $109.63 +3.13 (+4.63) Solid earnings from enterprise
storage leader EMC, along with other leading technology stocks,
helped BRCD to extend its gains again today.  BRCD is now up
more than 40% in the past 2 weeks, and the leading
fibre-channel switching solutions provider is still looking
strong, with volume running 75% above the ADV.  Of course, we
always have to watch out for profit taking, and with stochastics
now solidly in the overbought region, the stage is set.  The
downtrend has now solidly been broken, but with the stock riding
the upper Bollinger band, the most prudent entry strategy for
new positions would be to target shoot intraday dips to the
$104-105 support level.  We have moved our stop up to $100, and
this will be our last line of defense against profit taking.  As
long as the NASDAQ can continue to rally, and storage stocks
remain strong, BRCD should continue to behave well as we await
positive developments from next week's FOMC meeting.

CIEN $102.66 +1.78 (+2.15) The bulls have stopped to catch
their breath after helping CIEN to charge higher over the past
two weeks.  The breakout above the descending trendline (now at
$98) is still intact, as the stock is consolidating its recent
gains.  After the strong upwards move, it is encouraging that
profit taking didn't take a bigger bite out of the stock's
recent climb.  Mirroring the consolidation that is taking place
in the Networking index (NWX.X), CIEN could be preparing for its
next upwards surge as investors hold their breath ahead of next
week's FOMC meeting   Volume has weakened somewhat this week,
and we are now waiting for confirmation that the rally still has
legs.  The bulls will need to sharpen their horns as we continue
through this critical 2nd major week of earnings, and we will
look for new entries as CIEN bounces from the $100 support level
and heads back towards the upper Bollinger band.  Our stop is
still resting at $94, and a bounce near this level looks like a
gift we are unlikely to get unless we see significant weakness
in the Networking sector.  More conservative entries may appear
if the bulls charge ahead from current levels, driving CIEN
through resistance near $105 resistance, accompanied by strength
on the NWX.X.

NUFO $53.25 +0.31 (-1.38) Networking stocks have been leading
the NASDAQ higher over the past 3 weeks, and NUFO has been in
the thick of it all along.  After rallying nearly 60% last week,
the bulls needed to pause and catch their breath.  Profit
taking appeared yesterday, and it is amazing how limited this
activity was.  Volume dropped off to near the ADV, and the stock
didn't get anywhere near our stop.  The sellers ran out of steam
near the $50 level, and bargain hunters appeared, driving the
stock back up near the upper Bollinger band.  Given the stock's
strength this week, we are raising our stop to $48, and we would
use any intraday dip to support between $50-52 as an aggressive
entry point.  More conservative players will want to wait for
buying volume to pick up again, driving NUFO through the
congestion zone between $57-60.  Keep in mind that the
stochastics are sitting in overbought, and given the proximity
of the upper Bollinger band, any negative developments in the
Networking sector could have a sharply negative effect on our
play.  Anticipation of the company's earnings on January 30th
should continue to provide a positive bias, but make sure the
Networking index (NWX.X) continues to look strong before
initiating new positions.


TEVA $51.94 -1.13 (-1.62) Teva experienced heavy selling over
the last two days.  After rolling over from $56 on Monday, and
closing down on three times the average daily volume, Teva rolled
over from $52.60 on Tuesday and dropped to a low of $48.88 during
the mid morning.  The second major roll over occurred from $52.13,
on nearly seven times the average daily volume, and Teva is well
positioned to drop below $50 on strong volume.  The series of
lower highs is consistent with the unmistakable down trend the
stock established earlier this month, and Teva bucked the
strength in the biotech and pharmaceutical stocks today.
Traders can look for another roll over from $51.50, or a break
below strong support at $50, which could be an entry point for
more conservative put players.  Keep stops at $55.

BA $57.50 +1.50 (+1.81) Resistance is holding, but just barely.
After the sharp drop in shares of BA last week, prompted by
disappointing earnings, the stock needs to take some time to
consolidate its gains.  The question is whether it is a
temporary resting point before heading south again, or if the
stock will put in a bottom in the mid-$50s and recover from
here.  After 3 tests of the $55-56 level in the past 4 sessions,
we are seeing this level solidify as support.  There have been
no significant news developments this week, so BA is likely to
follow the lead of the broader market, and the fact that the
"old economy" index managed to post a solid gain today tilts
the balance in favor of the bulls.  Our stop remains in place at
$58, and although aggressive traders can consider new entries if
BA rolls over from there, we need to play with caution, as a
solid move through that level will spell the end of our play.
If you have been waiting for a solid entry signal, the
conservative approach will be to wait for the price to drop
through the $55 support level, preferably accompanied by solid

CCU $60.69 +1.31 (-1.06) When we started our put play in CCU
yesterday, we cited strong overhead moving average resistance
from the 200-dma (at $64.74) and the 5-dma as well as the
violation of its recent uptrend line along with negative sector
sympathy.  Closing down $2.38 or 3.85 percent on a little over
85% ADV, volume was light but the trend violation was difficult
to ignore.  Horizontal resistance appears to be building as well,
with the $61 level acting as a glass ceiling so far this week.
While the stock gained 2.21 percent today, the low volume (less
than 75% of ADV) illustrates the lack of buying conviction.  Look
for a failure to break above resistance at $61, the 5-dma at
$61.76, $63, and our stop price at $64 as potential targets for
entry but wait for selling volume before jumping in.  If CCU
moves strong below its 10-dma near $60, this could allow for an
entry on weakness, provided that rivals INF and VIA are also
heading lower.

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SCMR - Sycamore Networks $51.38 +5.25 (+1.45 this week)

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Chelmsford, MA, Sycamore
Networks is focused on developing the transport, switching and
management products required to create a flexible, intelligent,
end to end optical network.  Addressing the current limitations
of the public network infrastructure to grow bandwidth and
support new services, Sycamore leverages existing fiber optic
resources by bringing intelligence to the optical domain.
Sycamore's intelligent optical networking solutions will relieve
current network congestion and lay a foundation for the next
generation's telecommunication infrastructure.

The optical networking stocks are starting to light up the
Nasdaq once more, after being out of favor for most of the fall.
Investors are finding that their worst fears of a slowing
economy destroying the growth in this sector are, for the
most part, unfounded.  Excellent earnings from the optical
networking bellwether Nortel last week, as well as multiple
analyts upgrades of this dynamic sector, have stimulated
buying interest, which helped Sycamore close above resistance
at $50, which held the stock back for weeks.  Sycamore is now
resting just a quarter point underneath the 50 dma of $51.50,
and a break above this level would be an excellent entry point.
Sycamore is scheduled to report earnings on February 13, which
gives traders time to scale into positions prior to an
earnings run.  Sycamore's earnings came in well above the
expectations for the last quarter, and analysts have ranked SCMR
as one of the optical stocks with the highest possibility of
beating analysts expectations.  The small and mid cap networking
stocks have shown particularly strong momentum lately, and
have been outperforming the slower growing giants like Cisco.
Sycamore has announced a significant number of new contracts
and products in the fourth quarter of 2000, the most recent
of which was an announcement of CoreExpress's deployment of
SCMR's SN16000 optical switches, in a multi year agreement.
Analysts have stated that SCMR's broadening client base should
increase earnings going forward.  Traders can take positions
at current levels, or at a possible pullback to $50, or the
5 dma of $48.25.  The next major resistance level is $55, and
with help from the NWX.X SCMR may visit this level soon.  Watch
others in the sector like JDSU and CIEN and set stops at $44.

BUY CALL FEB-50 SMZ-BJ OI=1521 at $ 6.63 SL=4.50
BUY CALL FEB-55*SMZ-BK OI= 757 at $ 4.88 SL=3.00
BUY CALL MAR-50 SMZ-CJ OI=1733 at $10.00 SL=7.00
BUY CALL MAR-55 SMZ-CK OI= 305 at $ 7.88 SL=5.75


EBAY - eBay Inc $52.38 +2.94 (+2.25 this week)

eBay is an Internet auction service in which users buy and sell
personal property.  The  sellers pay a fee to have their items
placed on the company's Web site and the buyers get to browse
and make bids on the merchandise.  If an item sells, eBay
charges the seller a percentage of the closing price.  The
company's rivals in the auctioning arena are Yahoo! and

A clean break through the $45 resistance saw EBAY into its
earnings' announcement on January 18th.  The company easily
surpassed the Street's estimates and dazzled the analysts with a
rosy forecast.  The extended gains have pushed the share price
upwards of $50 in the past three sessions.  The sustained
momentum indicates EBAY could challenge the overhead opposition
at the 200-dma ($55.67) in the very near-term.  To take it a bit
farther, a break through the more formidable $60 level and EBAY
could potentially experience significant advances on pure
momentum.  The ascending pattern of higher-lows at $46, $48, and
$50 levels offer the discriminating trader a variety of
aggressive entries into this momentum play.  And for those who'd
rather buy into a rally, look for an opportunity to take
positions as EBAY moves through $53 and the above-mentioned 200-
dma.  It's essential that volume remains strong amid an
advancing market and others in the sector like Yahoo! (YHOO)
demonstrate strength.  We have a protective stop set at $46,
which is currently sandwiched between the 10-dma ($43.93) and
the 5-dma ($48.43).  In the news this week, the world's
biggest Internet auctioneer formed a partnership deal with
London-based Icollector that lets users place live bids on
artwork, antiques and collectibles at over 300 auction houses

BUY CALL FEB-50 QXB-BJ OI=1622 at $5.75 SL=3.75
BUY CALL FEB-55*QXB-BK OI=1788 at $3.50 SL=1.75
BUY CALL FEB-60 QXB-BL OI=1137 at $2.00 SL=1.00
BUY CALL MAR-50 QXB-CJ OI=  42 at $8.13 SL=5.75
BUY CALL MAR-55 QXB-CK OI=  20 at $5.88 SL=4.00
BUY CALL MAR-60 QXB-CL OI=  77 at $3.88 SL=2.50


RMBS - Rambus, Inc. $49.19 -0.19 (+1.81 this week)

Rambus designs, develops, licenses and markets high-speed chip-
to-chip interface technology to enhance the performance and cost-
effectiveness of computers, consumer electronics and other
electronic systems. They license semiconductor companies to
manufacture and sell memory and logic ICs incorporating Rambus
interface technology, and market their products to systems
companies to encourage them to design Rambus interface technology
into their products.  They have been aggressive in this respect,
licensing more than 100 patents to around 30 semiconductor

Bouncing off the $33 level at the beginning of the year, shares
of Rambus have moved ever higher.  While this is not particularly
surprising considering the recent strength in Semiconductor
issues, RMBS has advanced in the face of company-specific bad
news.  Reporting earnings less than two weeks ago, the company
missed Street estimates by a penny.  Analysts commented that the
earnings picture going forward was difficult to ascertain due to
its royalty revenue model and the company itself warned of higher
legal costs in upcoming quarters.  While the stock did take a
minor post-earnings stumble, investors were willing to buy into
the dip and since that time, RMBS has erased those losses, and
then some.  It seems that all the bad news had already been
priced into the stock and with that, traders focused on the
bright side, such as the five-fold year-over-year revenue growth,
the 35 percent sequential growth and the signing of a license
agreement by Mitsubishi.  Connecting the lows since the beginning
of the year, the stock is clearly in a strong uptrend.  Having
closed above 50-dma resistance yesterday, this moving average
line provided support today.  Now converged with the 5-dma, look
for this level, now at $47.50 to act as support.  Pullbacks to
this point as well the 10-dma at near $46, $45 and our stop price
of $43 could allow aggressive traders to enter this play,
provided that the dip buyers continue to lend their support.
Continued sector strength, gauged by action in the Philadelphia
Semiconductor Index (SOX) as well as Merrill Lynch's
Semiconductor HOLDR (SMH) could allow RMBS to power through
resistance at $50.  If the bulls can break and close above this
level with conviction, this would allow for a more conservative

BUY CALL FEB-45 BYQ-BI OI= 918 at $8.25 SL=5.75
BUY CALL FEB-50*BYQ-BJ OI=3339 at $5.38 SL=3.50
BUY CALL FEB-55 BYQ-BK OI=1576 at $3.38 SL=1.75
BUY CALL MAR-50 BYQ-CJ OI=  24 at $8.50 SL=6.00
BUY CALL MAR-55 BYQ-CK OI=  29 at $6.63 SL=4.50



TYC - Tyco International Ltd. $62.06 +1.44 (+0.94 last week)

Tyco International Ltd., a diversified manufacturing and service
company, is the world's largest manufacturer and installer of
fire and safety systems, the largest provider of electronic
security services in North America and the United Kingdom and has
strong leadership positions in disposable medical products,
packaging materials, flow control products, electrical and
electronic components and underwater telecommunications systems.
The Company operates in more than 80 countries around the world
and has expected fiscal 1999 revenues in excess of $22 billion.

Slow and steady would be a fairly accurate description for the
movement in TYC's stock price over the past year.  While many
Tech shares suffered losses in the year 2000, TYC traded in a
wide range from the low 40's to resistance at the $60 level to
end Y2K in the green.  Now, with an easing Fed and a willingness
in investors to put money into growth at a reasonable price, TYC
has broken above formidable resistance at $60 and is making new
all-time highs.  Also helping the stock is analyst Brian
Langenberg of Credit Suisse First Boston, re-iterating his Strong
Buy rating on the company and raising his share price target from
$65 to $80.  With resistance now support, we are placing our stop
price just below, at $59.  Pullbacks to moving average support
from the 5 and 10-dma at $60.72 and $59.30 could allow dip buyers
to take a position while an entry on strength could be had if TYC
advances above today's high of $62.37 on volume, backed by
positive momentum in peers JBL and CLS.

BUY CALL FEB-60 TYC-BL OI=18659 at $3.75 SL=2.25
BUY CALL FEB-65*TYC-BM OI= 7667 at $1.13 SL=0.00
BUY CALL MAR-60 TYC-CL OI=   18 at $5.00 SL=3.00
BUY CALL MAR-65 TYC-CM OI=  273 at $2.50 SL=1.25


BBY - Best Buy Co Inc $46.81 +3.06 (+4.31 this week)

Best Buy Company is a specialty retailer of name-brand consumer
electronics, home office equipment, entertainment software and
appliances.  The company operates its stores throughout the US.

BBY is a shining star amid the sometimes darkening sky of the
retail sector.  Coming off December lows in the $20 range, BBY
leaped into the new year like with a flash.  The narrowing
cycling at the $40 and $45 consolidation levels seemed almost
infinite.  But as usually happens with a coiling spring pattern,
there was a sharp breakout.  In today's session, BBY saw a
$3.06, or 6.5% jump through the upper resistance.  Volume was
respectable at 2.3 mln shares exchanging hands.  Now that
November's bearish gap is closed and BBY emerged unscathed,
we're anticipating a steady recovery as the stock heads into
earnings' season.  Best Buy is expected to announce solid
numbers around March 13th.  Look for pullbacks near our $43
protective stop or more conservatively, off the supportive 5-dma
($44.39) for entries into the uptrend.  It'll be important to
keep an eye on other retails stocks like Walmart (WMT), Circuit
City (CC), Office Depot (ODP) and Kohl's (KSS) to see how the
overall sector is responding to market conditions over the

BUY CALL FEB-40 BBY-BH OI= 460 at $7.38 SL=5.25
BUY CALL FEB-45*BBY-BI OI= 517 at $4.38 SL=2.75
BUY CALL FEB-50 BBY-BJ OI= 336 at $2.13 SL=1.00
BUY CALL MAR-45 BBY-CI OI=1138 at $6.25 SL=4.25
BUY CALL MAR-50 BBY-CJ OI=1536 at $4.00 SL=2.50




NKE - Nike Inc. $53.13 +0.19 (+2.26 this week)

Nike Inc. designs, develops and markets high quality footwear,
apparel, accessories and equipment products.  Nike is the largest
seller of athletic footwear and athletic apparel in the world.
the company sells its products to approximately 19,000 retail
outlets in the U.S., and through a mix of independent licensees,
distributors, and subsidiaries in approximately 140 countries
around the world.

Nike has had a huge run up from a low of $36 in October to a
high of $59 in January, and is now poised to correct.
A head and shoulders pattern developed in January, with the left
shoulder at $57.38, the head at $59.44, and the right shoulder
at $56.  This week, technical strength deteriorated further.
A downgrade by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter from outperform to
neutral on Friday sparked heavy selling, and Nike lost 2.5
points on double the average daily volume.  This week, an
additional news release was poorly interpreted by investors.
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Nike would
install a monitoring device into a factory of one of their
subcontractors in Mexico City, since allegations of worker
mistreatment had been reported by a Human Rights organization.
On Tuesday, Nike and Nordstrom announced a deal to market
Nike's Tiger Woods signature line in Nordstrom stores, however,
this news did little to boost the stock price.  Last week, Nike
rolled over from $56.50 twice, and fell sharply to $52.  The
last two days had Nike rolling over from lower highs at $54,
$53.50, and $53.20.  A rollover from its current level could
be an entry point.  In addition, Nike looks as if it will
break below the 50 dma of $49.98 soon, which would be an
excellent entry point for more conservative traders.  Set
stops at $56.

BUY PUT FEB-60 NKE-NL OI=  83 at $7.75 SL=5.50
BUY PUT FEB-55*NKE-NK OI=3080 at $4.00 SL=2.50


IDTI - Integrated Device Tech. $47.19 -2.44 (-3.06 this week)

Integrated Device Technology designs, develops, manufactures
and markets a broad range of high-performance semiconductor
products.  The company serves up products for data networking
and telecommunications equipment such as routers, hubs,
switches, cellular base stations, storage area networks,
networked peripherals, servers, and personal computers.  About
70% of sales are from communications and high-performance
logic components such as embedded RISC microprocessors,
specialty memory, logic and clock management circuits, and
networking devices.

After leading the NASDAQ off of its late December lows, the
Networking (NWX.X) and Semiconductor (SOX.X) sectors are taking
a break to consolidate their recent gains.  Operating in both
sectors, IDTI went along for the ride during the first three
weeks of the year, but got knocked back on its heels Friday
after reporting disappointing earnings.  Coming in a nickel shy
of estimates, and showing a significant slowdown in revenue
growth was not what investors wanted to hear, and they whacked
the stock for a 10% loss last Friday.  The rollover occurred
right at the 200-dma ($57.25), and has continued this week, as
the stock has now fallen to tentative support near $47.
Although volume has dropped back to near the ADV after last
Friday's selling frenzy, the technicals are not looking pretty.
MACD has rolled over and entered negative territory, and
stochastics have now dropped out of the overbought zone.
Investors are looking for strong stocks in this market, and
IDTI clearly doesn't fit the bill.  As cash leaves the stock,
it should fall through the $46-47 support level on its way back
towards its next support level near $43, followed by $40.
Depending on how ambitious the bears are, they could drag our
new play down for a retest of the recent lows between $28-30.
Of course irrational behavior seems rampant lately; should the
bulls win the current battle, our exit signal will be a rally
that manages to clear our stop at $51.  Aggressive traders can
look for entries as the bulls attempt to rally the stock; a
rollover near the $50 resistance level would make for a great
entry point.  More conservative players will want to wait for
selling pressure to violate the $46 level before jumping into
the play.  Keep an eye on the SOX.X and NWX.X.  If these indices
should roll over, that will give us a nice confirming signal and
IDTI will likely be one of the first stocks to suffer.

BUY PUT FEB-50 ITQ-NJ OI=725 at $6.50 SL=4.50
BUY PUT FEB-45*ITQ-NI OI=456 at $3.63 SL=2.00
BUY PUT FEB-40 ITQ-NH OI=740 at $1.94 SL=1.00



BRCD - Brocade Communications $109.63 +3.13 (+4.63 this week)

Brocade Communications is a provider of Fibre Channel switching
solutions for Storage Area Networks (SANs), which apply the
benefits of a networked approach to the connection of computer
storage systems and servers.  The company's family of SilkWorm
switches enables companies to cost-effectively manage growth in
their storage capacity requirements and improve the performance
between their servers and storage systems.  This provides the
ability of increasing the size and scope of a company's SAN,
while allowing them to operate data-intensive applications,
such as data backup and restore, and disaster recovery on the

Most Recent Write-Up

Solid earnings from enterprise storage leader EMC, along with
other leading technology stocks, helped BRCD to extend its gains
again today.  BRCD is now up more than 40% in the past 2 weeks,
and the leading fibre-channel switching solutions provider is
still looking strong, with volume running 75% above the ADV.  Of
course, we always have to watch out for profit taking, and with
stochastics now solidly in the overbought region, the stage is
set.  The downtrend has now solidly been broken, but with the
stock riding the upper Bollinger band, the most prudent entry
strategy for new positions would be to target shoot intraday dips
to the $104-105 support level.  We have moved our stop up to $100,
and this will be our last line of defense against profit taking.
As long as the NASDAQ can continue to rally, and storage stocks
remain strong, BRCD should continue to behave well as we await
positive developments from next week's FOMC meeting.


BRCD continues higher and is once again looking like its old self.
The advances have been steady, and EMC's stellar earnings this
morning certainly helped.  BRCD has support at $105, which is also
the site of its 100-dma.  Look for pullbacks to this level for a
bounce.  On the upside, BRCD will encounter resistance near $116.
A break of that level could send the stock to $120.  Watch the
NASDAQ for overall sentiment.

BUY CALL FEB-105 GUF-BA OI=  705 at $14.00 SL=11.25
BUY CALL FEB-110*GUF-BB OI= 2824 at $11.13 SL= 8.75
BUY CALL FEB-115 GUF-BC OI=  482 at $ 8.88 SL= 6.75
BUY CALL MAR-120 GUF-DD OI=   27 at $12.63 SL=10.00

SELL PUT FEB- 95 GUF-NS OI=  361 at $ 5.00 SL= 7.00
(See risks of selling puts in play legend)


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