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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 04/05/2001

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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 04-05-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
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******************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
******************************************************************
        04-05-2001        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA     9918.05 +402.60  9929.79  9527.21 1.33 bln   2309/749 
NASDAQ   1785.00 +146.20  1785.73  1706.10 2.27 bln   2860/872
S&P 100   588.52 + 27.53   588.52   560.99   totals   3058/1621
S&P 500  1151.44 + 48.19  1151.47  1103.25           65.4%/34.6%
RUS 2000  444.73 + 18.99   444.73   425.74
DJ TRANS 2751.33 + 49.50  2760.53  2700.31
VIX        34.98 -  4.09    38.18    34.39
Put/Call Ratio      0.70
******************************************************************

Risk and Reward

For nearly seven months, the shorts and put buyers in this market
have been printing money - literally printing money.  But those
printing presses may be running out of ink as measured by the
near-historic advances in the broader market averages Thursday.

The reward in shorting this market, especially the Nasdaq
Composite (COMPX), has far outweighed the risk in doing so over
the last seven months due to a slowing in the economy and the
subsequent impact on corporate earnings.  However, that dynamic
may soon come to an end as the returns from shorting stocks
diminish.  But, while the reward in shorting stocks may decline,
that doesn't necessarily translate into a new bull market.  What
it can lend to is a bottoming process in the bear-battered
Nasdaq, which now becomes a function of time.

The reward in shorting the tech sector was further diminished
after the bell Wednesday, when Dell Computer (NASDAQ:DELL)
reaffirmed its first-quarter guidance.  As a function of the
new SEC Regulation Fair Disclosure (FD), Dell officials told
investors late Wednesday, ahead of its analyst meeting Thursday,
that it was on track to meet its consensus estimates of 17 cents
per share.  Dell's reassuring comments are consistent with what
Micron Technology (NYSE:MU) told investors two weeks ago.  The
maker of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) said it was seeing
inventories among PC makers clearing and an up-tick in orders.
The PC and chip sectors were among the first to fall when the
bear market began, and should lead the ultimate rebound.  So,
the news from Dell Wednesday night (and Micron two weeks ago)
obviously lends credence to the formation of a bottom in the
tech sector.

In addition to the Dell news, a bullish analyst upgrade boosted
the beleaguered Internet sector, which fueled the Nasdaq's
rally Thursday.  Holly Becker, of Lehman Brothers, upgraded
shares of portal giant Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) from a market perform
to a buy rating.  Let me repeat that:  Yahoo was UPGRADED this
morning!  Upgrades in the Internet sector have been virtually
nonexistent, and I feel that Becker's move this morning, while
bold, marks a pivotal point for the group.  Although, Becker
conceded that, "...[Lehman] may be a bit early and that this
may not be the absolute bottom for Yahoo's earnings or even its
stock price."  While that much may be true concerning Yahoo, it's
important to mark Becker's upgrade on Yahoo and incorporate it
into the "bigger picture" of the technology sector.

Away from the technology sector, a blue chip, old economy name
sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) to a 400 point gain
Thursday.  Alcoa (NYSE:AA), the largest aluminum producer,
reported earnings of 46 cents per share, while consensus estimates
had the company pegged to earn 44 cents.  While the better-than-
expected numbers from Alcoa were due, in part, to cost-cutting
practices, the upside surprise was welcomed nonetheless.  Alcoa's
earnings report sparked a rampant buying spree in the cyclicals,
which powered the INDU higher.  And I mention that because it's
my belief that the best risk to reward, from the long side,
exists in the cyclicals and financials for the intermediate-term.

Concerning the financials, I feel that this group of stocks is
perhaps one of the most critical variables in furthering the
progress of the broader market and strengthening any rally.  In
fact, for the S&P 500, Dow and, indeed, the Nasdaq to sustain a
prolonged rally, we need to see continued strength in the
financials.  Readers can measure the progress of the financial
sector by monitoring the KBW Bank Sector Index (BKX.X).  Within
that index includes large money-center banks such as Citigroup
(NYSE:C) and J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).  Readers will note
on the chart below that, despite the Fed's 150 basis point
reduction in rates thus far in the cycle, the BKX is stuck in a
descending trend and will need to break above roughly 865 in
order to break trend.  The index still has another 25 points
until testing its trend, so keep a close eye on it tomorrow
morning following the release of the employment report, which
I'll elaborate upon below.




The market will be watching the employment report very closely
tomorrow because the Fed and Alan Greenspan will be watching it
very closely.  The expectations are for the unemployment rate
to rise to 4.3 percent.  If that number comes in higher-than-
expected, the market may actually rally on the news, especially
the finance sector, on hopes of the Fed cutting rates before
its May meeting.  Conversely, if the number comes in lower-than-
expected, the market may meet the news favorably.  As of late,
the market has had the propensity to rally on bullish economic
news as the expectations for an economic recovery in the latter
half of calendar 2001 increase.  So, if the unemployment number
comes in lower, the market may perceive that as the economy
turning around.  And, if the economy isn't as bad as the stock
market has been discounting, virtually all growth sectors of the
market may rally as shorts cover their bets.

For a quick take on the broader market, I'd like to point out
the chart of the S&P 500.  The broad market average bounced
off the 1100 level for the second time Wednesday, en route to
tracing a double-bottom.  Whether 1100 holds remains to be
seen, but the fact that buyers stepped in yesterday was
encouraging.  Nevertheless, the S&P 500, like the BKX, is in
a severe descending trend and needs to break out above 1175 in
order to break trend.  That level may prove pivotal in the
near-term, and traders should monitor the action as the S&P
approaches 1175 in conjunction with the BKX as it approaches
the aforementioned 865 level.




The Nasdaq's rally was very impressive Thursday, but the COMPX
failed to reach the 1800 level.  And I don't think that was a
coincidence.  My esteemed colleague, John Seckinger, pointed out
that the 1794 level marks a pivotal point for the COMPX - the day
high Thursday was 1785.  Of course, 1794 is very close to 1800,
so the latter may suffice in this case.  To digress, the point
that Mr. Seckinger made was that shorts may become more fearful
if the COMPX advances above 1794.  If the short-infested COMPX
follows-through Friday and advances above 1794, we may see the
index move back into its range between 1900 and 2000.  Now, I
know that Jim Brown recommended not going long any calls for an
extended period of time until the COMPX closes above the 2000
level.  But, I think that some quick profits can be taken from
the long side if the COMPX gains momentum in the form of short
covering above 1794 - just remember to book 'em quick.




There are plenty of reasons to be bullish after the 10 percent
gain in the Dow and 8.9 percent advance in the Nasdaq Thursday,
but I'd like to put Thursday's action in perspective.  We've
seen these types of moves in the broader market averages since
the dawn of the great bear market.  That is, time and time
again, the market has confounded its participants by displaying
rallies of historic proportions.  But, I'd like to remind
readers that violent, massive rallies are common characteristics
of bear markets.  The market, as measured by the Dow, S&P and
COMPX were deeply oversold going into Thursday morning and the
Alcoa earnings report, bullish comments from Dell and the Yahoo
upgrade combined to induce fear in the shorts.  That fear, in
turn, induced short covering (buying).  But, when there's fear,
to the upside, amongst shorts, the real buyers can't be too
far behind.  And that's why I suggested that the risk in shorting
stocks is increasing, while the potential reward is decreasing
and the bottoming process, which has historically taken time,
may soon begin.

Furthermore, as we were reminded after the close Thursday,
earnings continue to deteriorate in corporate America.  Sycamore
Networks (NASDAQ:SCMR) and Extreme Networks (NASDAQ:EXTR) both
issued profit warnings, which reinforced the difficult telecom
dynamic that is still plaguing much of the tech sector.  I'm
very certain that we'll continue to hear of profit warnings
within select tech sectors, but the impact of such warnings is
the variable.  That is, has all the bad news already been
discounted into the share prices of such tech giants as, for
example, Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO)?  We must remember that the
market is an efficient discounting mechanism, and is
forward-looking.

I'm not trying to discount the very much enjoyable rally in the
broader market averages Thursday.  Indeed, I believe that money
can be made from the long side IF the aforementioned metrics line
up as I described with the BKX, S&P 500 and the COMPX.  There are
several reasons to start getting bullish on the market, as Dick
Arms recently pointed out.  His ARMS Index, or TRIN, is flashing
bullish signals which have historically portended market bottoms.
The 10-day moving average of the ARMS Index recently rose above
1.5 and EVERY time in the last 20 years it has reached these
levels, the market staged a major reversal.  Typically, when the
ARMS Index rises above 1.5, the market had reached its nadir
within 4 to 20 days.  When Mr. Arms first opined concerning the
spike above 1.5, he said that the market would most likely retest
its lows and that's exactly why I pointed out the double-bottom
in the S&P 500 Wednesday - that could've very well been the
retest.

Eric Utley
Assistant Editor


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****************
MARKET SENTIMENT
****************

One Of These Days
By Austin Passamonte

Reminds us exactly of March & April 2000 again. One stretch we
saw the broad indexes plunge beyond belief and no bullish hope
existed. Suddenly the next session arrived to race away in the
opposite direction and bullish hope renews again. Up and down,
back and forth, wash, rinse, repeat. The past again becomes the
present.

Will this day be different? Only time will tell.

Plenty of market analysts have called a bottom over the past few
weeks and 1,000s of index points lower until today. This one does
have the makings of a key reversal that could linger into the
future, as did Thursday March 22nd when we began our last bullish
reversal & trek up the charts from there. By now everyone knows
what happened since then.

Market Sentiment would love, cherish and adore any sustained
rally that would gradually trend up the charts for months and
years to follow. Please mark us down for markets that gently pull
back every Monday (late morning preferred) and rally right up
into Friday where we can simply exit with massive profits. O.K.,
modest profits would do fine.

That is our personal fantasy; what's yours?

Fantasy & reality are often world's apart and we must remain
cautious not to confuse the two. There are so many bearish
pitfalls ahead that it seems very dubious we can put our claws
under a pillow and expect the Rally Fairy to leave us lots of new
trading capital in return.

Can we conquer further terrible news? Will multiple big-cap
warnings be shrugged off as investors look ahead? Will seasonal
weakness for equities in general and tech stocks in particular
negate this year? Will the Fed be moved to lower interest rates
further as stocks rally in anticipation? Only time will tell.

Bulls
All rallies begin from the depths of depravity with no hope for
anyone to ever buy stocks again. The past several sessions have
sure hinted of that. They also start as short covering and erupt
into all-out buying from there.

History's second-largest point gain rally in the Dow today was
anything but bearish. The largest point gain ever last March was
followed by a 10% index ascent the next few sessions before
reversing from there. This time that would take us to 10,800+ in
mirror fashion.

Nasdaq techs are beginning to catch some bids and the SOX is
trying valiantly to close above 525 resistance level. In all
fairness to each, both daily chart signals are turning bullish.

Investor & trader sentiment is desperate to change as the herd is
sick to death of selling. Stripped to its barest denominator,
market action is nothing more than human emotion quantified.
There is no rhyme, reason and certainly no logic to this
behavior. "Equity markets priced to perfection" is the biggest
oxymoron we know!

Bears
The list is still longer here, at least for now.

Prevailing trend is decidedly down. Tons of overhead resistance
remains although some was penetrated today. Plenty of sellers
stand ready to dump at a moment's notice given prime reason to do
so. Approaching tax season is one of many catalysts.

Pre-warn season will lead us into "non" earnings season and
business outlook going forward. We can be sure a few large caps
will 'fess with up dismal news this month. If recent history is
any guide, they won't be met with hugs & kisses at that time.

Technical chart studies are still bearish. We are poised for a
pullback in the broad indexes after just one session considering
we covered several day's worth of upside ground. It will take
less effort to push prices down than drive them up from here.

Part of today's action can be attributed to buyers rallying the
rumored possibility of an interim rate cut any day now. It's been
widely speculated that weak economic numbers could spur the Fed
into moving forward tomorrow, so bulls rallied into that today.
How will the actual data be interpreted? Emotion could drive
justification in either direction, but we must ask ourselves if
the Fed would feel quite moved to cut rates further in the face
of a powerful rally in equities? Can you see Greenspan doing
that? We are trying real hard but that image just doesn't manage
to appear for us.

Bottom Line
We can only assume there will be further weakness unless strength
is proven otherwise. It does little good to form a mid-range bias
these days; one session at a time is adventure enough. Our best
guess? Another failed rally & customary short-side bonanza may
lie dead ahead. How far and from what price heights? Only time
will tell.

Trade the daily trend as it develops and think twice about
holding profitable plays over any close!

*******

VIX
Thursday 04/05 close: 34.98

VXN
Thursday 04/05 close: 76.29

30-yr Bonds
Thursday 04/05 close: 5.53%

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. A reading above 10.00 is considered viable
resistance or support respectively within that general strike
price range.

                                   Thursday
                                 (04/05/2001)
  (Open Interest)       Calls        Puts          Ratio
S&P 100 Index (OEX)
Resistance:
625 - 610               10,581        2,043         5.18
605 - 590               13,902        6,305         2.20

OEX close: 588.52

Support:
585 - 570                6,486       11,502         1.77
565 - 550                2,224       10,269         4.62

Maximum calls: 600/ 7,016
Maximum puts : 500/10,221

Moving Averages
 10 DMA  583
 20 DMA  589
 50 DMA  642
200 DMA  727


NASDAQ 100 Index (NDX/QQQ)
Resistance:
 47 - 45               239,193        66,190         3.61
 44 - 42               166,696       101,812         1.64
 41 - 39               244,057       121,017         2.02

QQQ(NDX)close: 37.43

Support:
 36 - 34                61,632        96,796          1.57
 33 - 31                 3,576        47,913         13.40
 30 - 28                 2,486        14,984          6.03

Maximum calls: 45/150,079
Maximum puts : 43/72,912

Moving Averages
 10 DMA 38
 20 DMA 40
 50 DMA 49
200 DMA 74


S&P 500 (SPX)
Resistance:
1225                    8,343         8,418          0.99
1200                   10,724        14,134          0.76
1175                    9,477         6,946          1.36

SPX close: 1151.46

Support:
1125                    5,704        15,463          2.71
1100                    3,635        22,335          6.14
1075                      372        15,954         42.89

Maximum calls: 1275/24,634
Maximum puts : 1100/22,335

Moving Averages
 10 DMA 1144
 20 DMA 1154
 50 DMA 1244
200 DMA 1370

**********

COT DATA: No changes this session as we await Friday's new report
released at/after 4:00pm EST. Full updates will be provided then.


**************
MARKET POSTURE
**************

Please visit this link for Market Posture:

http://www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture/040501_1.asp


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

Beating The Bid/Ask Spread, Part II
By Austin Passamonte

On our last visit together here, we left off discussing how
bid/ask spreads move about. It is a perilous and often confusing
game, to say the least.

Standard option trading suggests we buy at "bid" and sell at
"ask" as retail traders. Anytime someone enters a market order of
20 contracts or less via electronic execution they do get instant
fills at prevailing bid or ask right then. If we went in right
now as fast market conditions dictate, buying at ask is the only
choice. Likewise, if we trade thin or less liquid markets we are
forced to pay ask prices as well.

Also, some high volume & large open interest targets have very
narrow bid/ask spreads. There is little point trying to split
offers in the QQQ for example now that it has minuscule spreads.
Being listed to trade on the Pacific and Chicago exchanges in
addition to AMEX have done wonders for narrowing the gap.

When it comes to the OEX and SPX, we do have great room for
improvement. Listings on other exchanges in addition to the CBOE
has been mentioned as a future possibility, but for now they can
have spreads that widen & narrow without warning.

For fictitious example, an SPX 1100 contract could have a bid/ask
spread of 8.70 - 10.80 to begin a new trading session. Fair value
may actually be 9.00 - 10.00 but the market makers are trying to
trap buyers & sellers trying to get in or out at the open for
better prices to the MM on both sides. Once all those market
orders are adversely filled in the opening minutes, the spread
narrows to 9.00 - 10.00 where it originally intended to be.

To attract buyers & sellers, the bid ask will move on either end
as market action and index futures prices fluctuate. If market
action is going up, market makers might back off the bid while
leaving the ask price in place at the same time. This is an
attempt to get spooked put players out at less than "fair value"
prices while holding calls back until forced to advance them.

Likewise, the reverse is true with markets moving down. Bid
prices on calls will move down faster than ask prices as MMs
attempt to balance their books, get delta neutral and pocket any
bid/ask spreads along the way. That is their game. They don't
really care about you & me sitting here in our underwear (too
much information?) at home trying to beat them at their own game.

Bid/ask spreads are also influenced by orders coming in to buy or
sell. Market makers are obligated to make the market where none
exists, but buyers and sellers accomplish this task for them in a
liquid market. If the spread is bid 9.00 ask 10.00 and we place a
buy limit order for 9.50, the market maker will usually let our
offer stand as best offer to the sellers. A liquid market will
have someone on the other side dying to exit who is more than
happy to fill our offer to buy.

Therefore, we just made/saved $50 per contract in that instance.
Fast markets? Forget it! Just get in. Today there were only two
viable call-play entries all session: one at the open and the
second near lunchtime. Buying the open for aggressive day traders
meant hitting the first "ask" on our selected targets that
emerged. By the time we even think about where to split the bid
those prices are long gone.

Later, the second entry was yet another story:



Using the big index (S&P 500) demonstrates this example repeated
in so many of its components today. Prices gapped up without
pause. Decent gains for those who hit the ask soon as it
appeared.

Notice the bullish reversal in stochastic signals at 11:40 am and
a lesser one near 2:00pm. Both of these came during relatively
quiet price action as "bullish coils" clearly formed. What were
option prices like?




The April 1175 call (SPT-DO) had a bid/ask spread of 9.00/10.00
to 9.50/10.50 to 10.00/11.00 while trades went off between 10.00
and 10.50 at that time. Had we simply bought 20 contracts at
"ask" it would have been $21,000 plus cost, but a buy-limit
order for 10.00 would have filled for $20,000 instead.

Now $1,000 difference means little in the greater scheme of
things, but take a few trades like this and it soon adds up to
real money.

Note the second entry sees price action trading between 11.00 and
12.00 for hours before the index took off at the end. A second
chance to enter during quiet periods and shave a few dollars in
the process from cost. This allows us to lower our stop loss
price by that exact amount with same dollar risk as buying at ask
would entail.

High sale price of the day was 16.00, which offered plenty of
space for a +/- 20% day trade while following the session's trend
and chart signal study.

One session, one rally, two examples. Early morning action
mandates buy at ask while later in the session we are able to
place our order close to bid and fill as price action undulates
up and down. A few ticks of the chart can see the ask at 10.00
become the prevailing bid within a flash, not to mention all
those sellers who bought earlier in the day just itching to exit
at that price.

Next week we'll pick up where we left off next week to tidy up
odds & ends about working the spread when time and conditions
dictate. Enjoy yourself until then and trade the daily trend!

Best Trading Wishes,
austinp@OptionInvestor.com


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PICKS WE DROPPED
****************

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.


CALLS:
*****

No dropped calls tonight.


PUTS:
*****

DPMI $43.53 +6.02 (+4.36) After finally breaking below $40 on
Wednesday, DPMI dropped as low as $37, which offered put players
excellent profits.  However, a strong rally in the semiconductor
sector lit up a fire under almost every chip stock in the market,
and DPMI was no exception.  It is too soon to determine if this
is a key reversal day, or if the SOX.X will experience further
obstacles in the weeks ahead.  DPMI is not likely to respond as
quickly as some of the other chip stocks to further rallies, as
its business cycle lags the semiconductor industry by several
quarters.  Nonetheless, the stock closed above our stop level
of $43, and we are dropping it tonight.

OPWV $19.80 +4.91 (+0.83)  After falling below $16 on Tuesday,
OPWV formed a new 52-week low at $13.51.  On Wednesday, another
attempt to rally past $16.50 failed, and OPWV collapsed again.
However, the triple digit rally in all of the major indexes
stimulated buying in OPWV, and the stock closed up on heavy
volume.  OPWV closed above our stop level of $18, and we will
take our profits and move on to other plays at this point.

SONS $17.88 +5.00 (-2.06) It's to our dismay that the lucrative
downtrend reversed in today's market revival.  But no complaints
from here!  The wake of earnings' warnings and analyst
downgrades fueled the fiery drop to yesterday's new all-time low
at $12 and lined many traders with gold.  But all good things
must come to an end.  It's certainly possible that the bulls may
not be able to take SONS through the $20 resistance; however,
the odds of taking this risk in the wake of a possible market
recovery just doesn't make sense.  The revised closing stop to
$16 should have safeguarded existing profits and capital.

GS $86.00 +8.47 (+0.90) The Bulls lit up the markets today!  The
bullish activity kept the door shut on our new put play, it's
always better to have missed the downdraft than to get caught in
such a powerful reversal!  The strong upside action easily took
GS through our $82 protective stop at the close, with GS
finishing up 11% on almost twice the ADV.

ADBE $34.90 +5.38 (-0.07) Have the Software stocks finally
found bottom?  Perhaps, but it will be some time before we see
that this sector has truly reversed course.  For the time being
though, ADBE bounced sharply with the rest of the Technology
sector this morning and never looked back.  After breaking
solidly through the 5-month descending trendline and our stop at
$33, the stock continued climbing right into the close.  The
only negative comment we can make is that volume was weak at
only 75% of the ADV.  With the sharp upward move through
resistance and improvements in the overall sector, there is no
choice but to move ADBE to the drop list tonight.

VRTS $47.16 +7.71 (+0.92) Another Software play comes to an end,
as the whole sector went on a joyride with the bulls today.
Gaining nearly 14% on the day, it should come as no surprise
that the rising tide affected our VRTS play as well, launching
itself up the charts by nearly 20%.  Needless to say, our stop
was toast by the middle of the trading session and the bulls
just kept charging forward, pushing the stock up to close very
near the high of the day.  VRTS was a great play, putting some
fat profits in our pockets over the past couple weeks.  It is
with a heavy heart (and wallet) that we bid this play farewell.

AETH $11.25 +1.50 (-1.75) The best part about closing out a
successful play is in taking the profits.  There is a time to sow
and a time to reap.  With AETH having fallen almost 50 percent
since we picked this put play, this is clearly a good time to
lock in our substantial gains.  Having recently tightened our
closing stop price to $11, today's rally of almost 17 percent,
while only on average volume, put the stock above this level.
AETH also managed to close above its 5-dma at $10.86, and while
the 10-dma still looms overhead at $12.73, we are dropping
coverage of this play and exiting on a high note.

CMVT $53.28 +7.46 (-5.61) In sympathy with a weak NASDAQ
yesterday, shares of the wireless software maker continued lower,
fall $2.87 or 5.89 percent yesterday on high volume, clocking in
at 2.63 times the ADV.  Today, on the heels of a strong market,
CMVT surged, gaining over 14 percent on higher than average
volume.  Gapping up at the open, this move put the stock back
above its 5-dma at $36.53.  Now above our tightened stop at $52,
we are closing out this play.

ISSX $26.31 +4.63 (-1.05) It appears that for now, ISSX has found
a bottom at the $19.75 level.  Since the steep sell-off on
Tuesday, the stock has managed to hold this support level.
Despite a down day for the NASDAQ on Wednesday, ISSX managed to
not only hold its ground, but finish the day up $1.58 or 7.85
percent on 2.65 times the ADV.  This strength carried over into
today, when the stock rallied over 21 percent on 175% of ADV.
This move could likely be attributed to a good day for the
markets overall along with a news item that hackers had broken
into a Federal computer system.  Closing above our stop price of
$23, we are cutting this play loose.


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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 04-05-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

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********************
PLAY UPDATES - CALLS
********************

AGIL $13.88 +2.44 (+2.85) It looks like we got on this one just
in time, as the Software sector is showing definite signs of
life.  AGIL gave us a preview of this reversal over the past
couple days and the bulls took off running this morning.  The
Software index (GSO.X) launched off of solid support for a
nearly 14% gain, and AGIL added to its own recent gains by more
than 21%, ending the day just below the high of the day on more
than double its average daily volume.  The Stochastics
oscillator is in a sharp ascent, now above the oversold region,
and looks like it could continue significantly higher if the
bears will continue their hibernation a bit longer.  The stock
is now sitting right at resistance near $14, and conservative
traders will want to see it clear $14.50 on solid volume before
initiating new positions.  Our stop has now moved up to $12,
and aggressive entries can be considerer on any temporary
weakness that produces a bounce above this level tomorrow.  Keep
an eye on the GSO.X index for confirmation that the bulls want
to keep charging ahead.  Weakness in the overall sector will
be a preview that AGIL is running out of buying interest.

EQT $73.60 +1.89 (+4.60) EQT maintains its strong up-trend, as it
continues to make new all-time highs.  Yesterday, the stock
gained $1.12 or 1.59 percent on over twice the ADV.  The company
announced that it would be hosting a conference call before the
market open on April 20th in which it's first quarter financial
results will be discussed.  As a company that has consistently
beat Street expectations, even in the face of a slowing economy,
this was enough to attract investor interest.  Today EQT added
another 2.64 percent to its gains on 2.6 times the ADV in
sympathy with the rising markets.  With the 5-dma (now at $70.83)
providing support for its recent rise, bounces off this level as
well as our closing stop price, moved up from $70 to $71, could
provide aggressive traders with an entry point.  Support may also
be found at $72.30, but confirm with volume.  An entry on
strength for conservative traders may be gained on a break above
$74.  Confirm direction with movement in peers DVN and SRE.

AEP $47.54 -0.07 (+0.54)  The utility sector sold off a little
today, but remained above the converged 50 and 10-dma of 360.73.
In a similar pattern, AEP did not participate in the broad market
rally, but sold off only slightly, maintaining the pattern of
higher lows established at the end of March.  Tomorrow will be
key to today's huge move in the markets, as investors may pull
out of technology stocks at the slightest sign of weakness.
While utilities are traditionally considered a defensive sector,
UTY.X and AEP have not been showing a reverse pattern of the
general markets over the last few weeks, and have been moving
primarily on the increased awareness of the shortage of energy.
We are really looking for a breakout above $48 in AEP on heavy
volume.  This would be an entry point for conservative traders,
particularly if UTY.X has broken above the 374 level.  More
aggressive traders could take positions at current level, if
others in the sector like DUK and SO are rallying.  We are
keeping stops at the 50 dma of $46, so close positions if AEP
closes below this level.


*******************
PLAY UPDATES - PUTS
*******************

MRX $45.00 +1.80 (+0.18) It is decision time.  Will the rebound
in Drug stocks continue into the weekend, or are we being
presented with another entry point for puts?  The broad market
recovered from its deeply oversold condition today, and the
DRG.X index launched higher as well, ending at the high of the
day, right at resistance and just below the 3-month descending
trendline.  For its part, MRX retraced a small portion of its
gains at the close, to end the day right at the $45 resistance
level (also the location of the 2-month descending trendline).
Our stop is still sitting at $46, and a return of the bears
tomorrow could produce an attractive entry point for aggressive
investors as the stock weakens.  The more conservative approach
will be to target new entries as the stock falls below the $43
support level, accompanied by selling in the broader Drug
sector.  Even though the price rise was impressive, volume was
only average, hinting that there was a lack of conviction in the
rally.

AMGN $56.81 +1.81 (-2.57)  Considering the enthusiasm in the
markets today, AMGN's performance was lukewarm at best.  BTK.X
rallied to 451, which does not break the series of lower highs
the index established several weeks ago.  We need to see BTK.X
clear the 500 level before real bullish momentum can begin in
the biotech stocks.  In the meantime, AMGN is poised to roll
over from current levels just under the 10-dma of $57.89 to
support at $55.  AMGN confirmed that their first quarter
earnings would be released on April 26th, which gives traders
plenty of additional time.  Consider taking positions on a failed
rally from current levels, which would confirm a pattern of
lower highs starting at the $60 level, if the BTK.X is rolling
over.  Alternatively, a drop below $55 on heavy volume would be a
more conservative entry point.  We are keeping stops at $58, so
close positions if AMGN closes below this point.

PMCS $22.52 +3.40 (-2.22) We started our put play on shares of
chipmaker PMCS yesterday based on fundamental weakness in it's
sector, as measured by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index
(SOX), along with a strong downtrend.  For the past couple of
weeks, the 5-dma (now at $21.86) has acted as formidable
resistance.  Today's gain of almost 18 percent and break above
this moving average may have the some bears questioning
themselves, but there are a number of things to consider.
Resistance at $23 held firmly today, and as long as this level
(which also happens to be our closing stop price) holds, the
sellers are still in control.  As well, volume was light today,
less than 60 percent of ADV, suggesting a lack of conviction on
the part of the buyers.  A move back below its 5-dma would allow
conservative traders to enter on weakness while another
unsuccessful attempt to take out the $23 level would give higher
risk players a chance to jump in.  Before making a play, make
sure the competitor BRCM is also heading lower.

NSM $24.45 +2.28 (+2.30) The Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) rose
from the depths of yesterday's 453.85 level and broke to the
upside of the critical 500 mark in today's major market
resurgence.  But let's face it, no one's sure if this is just
another bear trap - an awesome concept for put players!
Therefore, we must precede with caution and try to walk the
tightrope.  Before taking additional positions; particularly in
light of the combined sector and market strength today, confirm
the weakness.  The very enterprising traders might find high-
risk entry opportunities if NSM rolls over from its current
level and play the downside a couple points as it approaches the
near-term support at $21 and $22.  Exit aggressively.  Although
caution is stressed, take a look at a daily chart.  The strong
volume at 1.86 times the ADV failed to generate enough bullish
momentum to shatter the upper resistance at the 5-dma ($24.37).
In an effort to precede with caution, but at the same time walk
the perilous tightrope, we're keeping our CLOSING stop at the
$27 level to allow room for NSM to operate amid the market
eruption.

XLNX $33.25 +2.88 (-1.88) The chip stocks rallied with the
broader market as evidence by the sharp rise in the
semiconductor index.  However, XLNX specific performance was
less than stellar; and that bodes well going forward with this
put play.  The raging bulls ignited a buying spree and XLNX
climbed over 14% intraday, but two major elements stymied the
run.  The previous support at $35, bolstered by the 10-dma
($37.11), turned strong resistance and XLNX did an about face in
the last hours of trading.  And second, volume speaks for
itself.  Overall trading activity was average on the climb, but
on the late day decline the volume became quite spunky, topping
400 K.  These are good indicators that XLNX could once again
trade below the $30 level in a declining market.  Until a
definitive downtrend resumes, keep to the sidelines.  Of course,
those with an aggressive nature may portend taking entries if
XLNX moves to the underside of the 5-dma ($32.66) on strong
volume.  A challenge of yesterday's intraday low at $29.97
coupled with the SOX.X trading back under the critical 500 level
is however, better confirmation.


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**************
NEW CALL PLAYS
**************

AGGRESSIVE:

WCOM - Worldcom Inc. $19.06 +1.63 (+0.50 this week)

Worldcom is a preeminent telecommunications company for the
digital generation, operating in more than 65 countries with
2000 revenues of approximately $40 billion.  Worldcom provides
the innovative technology and services which are the
foundation for the twenty first century.

Of all of the sectors which have been battered over the last
twelve months, none have taken it as hard as the telecom
sector.  The slowing of the telecom earnings growth combined with
a serious problem in the credit markets demolished almost every
stock in the long distance, wireless, and CLEC areas.  However,
over the last few weeks, WCOM has been basing, from a low of
$15 established on March 14, and forming a nice, steady upward
channel while the rest of the market was being trashed.  A
higher low at $16 was formed on March 22, and this week, it
looks like WCOM has made an important break through.  During
the calamity in the indexes which occurred on Wednesday, WCOM
managed to maintain this pattern with a higher low at $17,
which did not fail even when the Nasdaq dropped below 1650.
On Thursday, WCOM burst through its 50 dma of $18 with heavy
volume and a bullish candlestick pattern which usually
predicates strong action in the short term.  WCOM's next task
will be to clear resistance at the $20 level, which might
happen with a little help from the telecom sector.  As one of
the premier profitable communications companies, WCOM might
be first on the hungry investors' shopping lists in the day
to come, provided that investors are convinced the rally we
experienced today will continue.  Traders can take positions
at current levels, if the telecom sector is showing strength.
A break above $20 with strong volume would be an entry point
for conservative traders.  Watch others like SBC and Q, and
stop the play if WCOM closes below $17.50.

BUY CALL APR-15 JQD-DC OI= 9567 at $4.38 SL=2.50
BUY CALL APR-20 LDQ-DD OI=44638 at $0.75 SL=0.00
BUY CALL MAY-15*LDQ-EE OI= 7385 at $4.75 SL=3.00
BUY CALL MAY-20 LDQ-EE OI= 2455 at $0.38 SL=0.00

http://www.premierinvestor.net/oi/profile.asp?ticker=WCOM


*************
NEW PUT PLAYS
*************

AGGRESSIVE:

UNH - UnitedHealth Group $60.00 +0.14 (+0.74 this week)

Providing a broad range of resources to help people improve
their health through all stages of life, UNH forms and operates
markets for the exchange of health and well being services.
The company's Health Care Services segment consists of the
UnitedHealthcare and Ovations businesses.  Ovations is a
business dedicated to advancing the health and well-being goals
of Americans over the age of 50.  Additionally, the company's
Ingenix business operates in the field of health care data and
information, analysis and application.

Soaring with the rest of the Health Care sector, UNH was one of
the darling stocks of the year 2000, but the bulls have recently
lost their conviction.  Since the beginning of the year, the
stock has been stuck in a broad trading range between $63 at the
upper end and $50 at the lower extreme.  Rallying again over the
past 2 weeks, UNH is starting to show weakness right at the
upper end of its range.  Adding to the bearish outlook is the
fact that the highs since the first of the year have been
gradually getting lower, and if the action today is any
indication, the stock is just beginning its next trip down.
Daily Stochastics is flattening out in the overbought zone, the
upper Bollinger band is declining (now at $61.71), and after
opening at the high of the day, UNH fell steadily on heavy
volume (75% above the ADV), ending just fractionally above the
low of the day.  Finally, while the Healthcare Payor Index
(HMO.X), of which UNH is a component, has been in rally mode for
the past couple weeks, it is reaching its 2-month descending
trendline, right at the $435 resistance level.  It will take a
hard-charging herd of bulls to break through this resistance.
Aggressive traders will look for an intraday rally to provide
attractive entry points.  A rollover near the $61 level looks
like just the ticket.  The more conservative approach will be to
jump onboard as the rollover picks up steam, pushing the stock
below the $59.50 level on increasing volume.  Watch the HMO.X
for confirmation of developing sector weakness, and place stops
just above resistance, at $62.

BUY PUT APR-65 UHB-PM OI=   3 at $5.70 SL=3.75
BUY PUT APR-60*UNH-PL OI=1086 at $2.20 SL=1.00
BUY PUT APR-55 UNH-PK OI=1243 at $0.70 SL=0.00
BUY PUT MAY-60 UNH-QL OI= 173 at $3.60 SL=1.75
BUY PUT MAY-55 UNH-QK OI= 647 at $1.70 SL=0.75

http://www.premierinvestor.net/oi/profile.asp?ticker=UNH


HGSI - Human Genome Sciences Inc $44.31 +5.13 (-1.69)

Human Genome Sciences researches and develops proprietary
pharmaceutical and diagnostic products to discover and
ultimately, cure disease based on the understanding of human and
microbial genes.  HGS is one of the few genome sciences
companies involved in developing gene-based therapeutics.  The
company possesses one of the largest databases of the genes of
humans and microbes, which they refer to as its genomic
database.  The firm licenses a proprietary database of genes and
partial gene sequences to such pharmaceutical giants as
GlaxoSmithKline and Merck.

The oversold conditions and emerging bulls in today's market
arena saw HGSI rally into resistance, but the fact remains that
it was nonetheless, abruptly halted by the 10-DMA technical.
We're initiating coverage on this biopharmaceutical on the
expectation that shares of HGSI will roll over and garner
lucrative profits.  Today's bullish volatility resulted in less
expensive put contracts and thus, a prime buying opportunity -
IF and ONLY IF you're an aggressive trader with the risk
portfolio to match.  If the Biotech Index (BTK.X) remains under
the 450 level and HGSI crumbles under the pressure of a
declining market, you might look for entries as HGSI moves
through the 5-dma ($42.28) on intraday volume above 300 K.  Lock
in gains aggressively - there's bottom support at $38 and $40.
Using a completely different illustration, an intraday rally
could see HGSI riding higher into the proximity of the 30-dma,
just above our closing stop at the $46 mark.  In this scenario,
the adventurous might jump into the play if HGSI becomes a
victim of profit taking and reverses.  Bottom line, so to speak,
is to put as many advantages in your corner in an effort to
create the highest probability of success.  A declining market,
faltering biotech sector, and HGSI rolling over at the various
levels of resistance provides the best confirmation to indicate
that expectations are in the money.  And, look for additional
dissent from the analysts.  Earlier in the week, Lehman Brothers
cut its price target on HGSI by 46%, from $93 to $50.  Other
pharmaceutical companies, Imclone Systems (IMCL), Genetech (DNA)
also lost their footings after Lehman Brothers made significant
cuts to their estimates as well.

BUY PUT APR-50 HHA-PJ OI=2357 at $7.75 SL=5.50
BUY PUT APR-45*HHA-PI OI=1872 at $4.50 SL=2.75
BUY PUT APR-40 HHA-PH OI=1592 at $2.38 SL=1.25
BUY PUT APR-35 HHA-PG OI=1549 at $1.00 SL=0.00

http://www.premierinvestor.net/oi/profile.asp?ticker=HGSI


CIEN - Ciena Corporation $38.69 +3.69 (-3.06 this week)

Helping to satisfy the insatiable demand for bandwidth, Ciena
makes dense-wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems for
use with long-distance fiber-optic communications networks.  CIEN
offers optical transport, intelligent switching and multi-
service delivery systems that enable service providers to deliver
and manage high-bandwidth services to their customers.  The
company's MultiWave DWDM systems allow optical fiber to carry up
to 40 times more data and voice information without requiring
more lines.  CIEN's customers include long-distance carrier,
competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), Internet service
providers and wholesale carriers.

The slowing economy has hit the Networking sector especially
hard in light of the ripple effect that has been going on.  As a
majority of companies in the Networking space rely heavily on the
spending of Telecom companies, cutbacks in capital expenditures
on the part of their bread and butter customer base has resulted
in weaker than expected revenues along with lack of earnings
visibility going forward.  This problem is compounded by the high
inventory levels on hand, which force the Networkers to sell
their once high margin products at discount prices.  What's more,
the detonation of the dotcom space has resulted in their
customers unable to pay for equipment already delivered.  All
these fundamental elements have marked themselves technically on
the charts.  Connecting the highs and lows for CIEN since last
October reveals that the stock has been trading in a fairly wide
downward trending regression channel.  In fact, recent weakness
has resulted in a break below this downtrend channel suggesting
that CIEN may steepen its decline.  Today's gain of over 10
percent on twice the ADV on the surface was impressive.  However,
the stock was unable to close above $40 resistance, volume was
light compared to the recent selling that has been going on, and
CIEN ended the day below its 5-dma at $38.71.  A rollover on
another attempt at breaking $40 could allow higher risk players
to take a position, but confirm with volume and make sure that
CIEN continues to close below our stop price of $41.
Conservative traders may want to wait for a break below $37.75
before entering, confirming weakness CIEN with a falling AMEX
Networking Index (NWX).

BUY PUT APR-40*EUQ-PH OI=9547 at $5.25 SL=3.25
BUY PUT APR-35 EUQ-PG OI=2356 at $2.88 SL=1.50

http://www.premierinvestor.net/oi/profile.asp?ticker=CIEN


GMST - Gemstar-TV Guide Int'l $28.50 +5.13 (-0.25 this week)

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.

We are adding GMST on to our aggressive put play list, for
reasons both fundamental and technical.  While shares of the
media firm enjoyed a rally of almost 22 percent today on over
twice the average daily volume, there are a number of finer
points to consider.  Sector sympathy usually plays an important
role in stock price movement and as such, peers such as SFA and
TIVO have been weak for the month of March.  Connecting the highs
and lows since that time reveals that today's bounce only served
to put GMST near the top of its downtrend channel.  As well,
despite positive comments and upgrades from analysts, the stock
has shown negative divergence, moving lower on increasing volume.
 UBS Warburg initiated coverage today with a Strong Buy rating,
while Gerard Klauer Mattison upgraded the stock from a Buy to an
Outperform rating.  While strong buying volume in over the past
couple of days may give the bulls something to cheer about, this
move may be a bounce from an extremely oversold condition.  With
GMST's downtrend still intact, a failed rally above resistance at
$30, reinforced by the 10-dma at $29.11, may provide higher-risk
players with an attractive entry point.  In an effort to limit
our downside risk, we are placing a closing stop at the $30
level.  For the more risk averse, we suggest waiting for the
sellers to return, taking GMST below $27 on volume before jumping
in.

BUY PUT APR-30*QLF-PF OI=2533 at $4.13 SL=2.50
BUY PUT APR-25 QLF-PE OI=1217 at $1.75 SL=1.00

http://www.premierinvestor.net/oi/profile.asp?ticker=GMST


*********************
PLAY OF THE DAY - PUT
*********************

AMGN - Amgen $56.81 +1.81 (-3.38 this week)

Amgen is a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops
manufactures, and markets human therapeutics based on advances
in cellular and molecular biology.  The company manufactures and
markets four human therapeutic products, Epogen, Neupogen,
Infergen, and Stemgen.  Amgen uses wholesale distributors of
pharmaceutical products as the principal means of distributing
the company's products to hospitals, pharmacies and clinics.

Most Recent Write-Up

Considering the enthusiasm in the markets today, AMGN's
performance was lukewarm at best.  BTK.X rallied to 451, which
does not break the series of lower highs the index established
several weeks ago.  We need to see BTK.X clear the 500 level
before real bullish momentum can begin in the biotech stocks.
In the meantime, AMGN is poised to roll over from current
levels just under the 10-dma of $57.89 to support at $55.
AMGN confirmed that their first quarter earnings would be
released on April 26th, which gives traders plenty of
additional time.  Consider taking positions on a failed
rally from current levels, which would confirm a pattern of
lower highs starting at the $60 level, if the BTK.X is rolling
over.  Alternatively, a drop below $55 on heavy volume would be a
more conservative entry point.  We are keeping stops at $58, so
close positions if AMGN closes below this point.

Comments

AMGN bounced higher Thursday, on what appeared to be a combination
of short covering and market-related buying.  The stock remains
technically weak and could rollover in Friday's session should the
biotech sector weaken.  The general lack of a catalyst in the
biotech sector and the rally to resistance, as measured by the
Biotechnology Index (BTK.X), could provide a favorable put play
in terms of risk to reward in AMGN.  If AMGN advances early
Friday, watch for a rollover near the $58 level, which is the site
of our protective, upside stop.  Conversely, consider entering
new put positions if AMGN falls below the $56 level.

BUY PUT APR-60*YAA-PL OI=7176 at $5.25 SL=3.25
BUY PUT APR-55 YAA-PK OI=5912 at $2.75 SL=1.25

http://www.premierinvestor.net/oi/profile.asp?ticker=AMGN


************************Advertisement*************************
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Does your broker offer Stop Losses on Options?

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Stop Losses based on the option price or the stock price.
Move your trading into the next millennium with PreferredTrade.

Anything else is too slow!

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


************************
COMBOS/SPREADS/STRADDLES
************************

Order Execution: A Priority for Success
By Ray Cummins

The recent article about LIFFE's (London International Financial
Futures and Options Exchange) sophisticated electronic trading
platform prompted one of our readers to question the methods of
order execution used here in the United States.  In many respects,
the mechanics of the two systems are very similar but there are
some significant differences in the way the "market" is displayed
and the manner in which orders are processed by exchange members.

Much like the American exchanges, the open outcry process at LIFFE
continues to be a popular feature of London's financial markets
providing the public with the colorful image of traders competing
for the best price.  In the classic method, an order to buy or
sell an options contract is telephoned from the broker's office
to a representative at the exchange.  A runner then delivers the
order to the appropriate area on the exchange floor where a trader,
through the use of hand signals, offers the position to other
participants in the pit.  When a transaction occurs, the details
of the deal are recorded on an order slip and confirmed with the
parties involved.  In addition, every trade is entered into the
price recording system by an official clerk.  In today's modern
exchanges, the pit-trading method is supplemented by an electronic
screen-based trading system.  At the London Options Exchange, the
mechanism is called LIFFE CONNECT and the market in this system is
order-driven rather than quote-driven; the prices displayed on the
trading screens representing firm buy and sell orders instead of
indicative quotes.

The floor trading methods used in the United States are somewhat
different, depending on the specific rules of the institution to
which your trade is routed.  Options are traded on four exchanges:
the American Exchange (AMEX), Chicago Board of Options Exchange
(CBOE), Philadelphia Exchange (PHLX) and Pacific Exchange (PCX).
A new "off-floor" electronic trading facility, the International
Securities Exchange (ISE) has also begun to trade listed options
but for the purposes of comparison, we will examine the oldest and
largest option exchange in America, the CBOE.  Similar to the
procedure at LIFFE, most option classes listed at the CBOE are
traded in an open outcry market.  Traders called "market-makers"
are the nucleus of the CBOE system, providing liquidity in option
trading by risking their own capital for personal accounts.  They
take the opposite side of public orders which are presented by
floor brokers, who act as agents for the various member accounts.
This differs from the trading environment on many other exchanges
where "specialists" are allowed to accept orders from the public,
to manage the public order book and to deal for their own accounts
in the same securities.  Competition is the essence of the system
that allows market-makers, floor brokers and order book officials
(CBOE employees who maintain the public customer limit order book
and have no personal financial interest in any trades that occur)
to facilitate the execution of customer orders.  The CBOE has also
recently introduced a modified trading system in all equity option
classes combining the strengths of the market-maker with those of
the specialist in one entity, the designated primary market-maker,
or DPM.  The DPM is an exchange appointed organization, obligated
to provide the highest degree of accountability to public traders
by functioning as both market-maker (liquidity provider) and floor
broker in these assignments while also operating the public limit
order book.

Despite the highly evolved systems used by option exchanges in the
United States, the efficient execution of orders continues to be a
problem for public traders.  Orders from retail participants are
often routed to a specific exchange that may not necessarily offer
the best price for a particular trade.  In addition, any brokerage
that is a principal in the issue being traded may choose to take
the opposing side in a position, effectively competing against the
public customer.  There are a number of reasons a brokerage would
execute a trade as a principal, rather than going into the open
market to "fill" it but on most occasions, it is because they are
carrying excess inventory in the issue or acting as a market-maker.
For most traders, it is best to use an independent agent; a broker
who doesn't carry inventory and can route orders to any exchange.
Unlike the discount broker, an independent agent is paid to search
for the best exchange prices and provide quality customer service
in all facets of the trading process.  In most cases, traders are
looking for simple and efficient order execution and with the many
advances in direct order-entry technology, there is no reason to
accept inferior services from brokerages who use a "middleman" to
complete their transactions.

Readers often ask which brokers are favored among OIN writers and
in my opinion, there are few firms who can compete with the price
and service combination offered by Preferred Capital Markets.  As
many of you know, the company's stock and equity-option segment;
Preferred Trade, is a self-clearing firm with ample experience in
electronic trading and a dedicated group of professionals that
offers education and assistance to traders at a reasonable price.
The company is a leader in automated options executions and they
have achieved remarkable advances in order-entry software through
their extensive experience with clearing for floor traders.  Using
the basic trading platform, option orders can be routed directly
to any exchange and the program can automatically search for the
best price.  In addition, Preferred offers trading stops based on
the stock or option price and also order-canceling and contingency
orders.  Experienced professionals, not clerks or assistants are
available before, during, and after market hours and the company's
proven electronic order software is supported by floor brokers to
guarantee the best executions.  (Novice traders mistakenly believe
they will save money with discount brokerages without knowledge of
the allowances they sacrifice on execution.)  Preferred's unique
software delivers accurate confirmations and their professional
staff helps you deal with the complexities of derivatives trading,
all at a cost comparable to the so-called "bargain" brokers.

For traders who want the exclusive service afforded by a personal
agent, the company offers Preferred Trade Plus; a program headed
by retail option specialists (and popular OIN contributors) Andrew
Aronson and Alan Knuckman.  Based in Chicago, this combination of
the company's trading execution platform and assistance rendered
by experienced option principals can provide both experienced and
novice market players with the tools needed to succeed.  Traders
can work one-on-one with licensed option principals to develop a
personal strategy, establish portfolio objectives, and identify
specific goals based on account size, market experience, and risk
tolerance.  Andrew and Alan use their expertise to customize a
program of education and implementation of specific strategies
and they teach proper (stop and limit) order placement and money
management to help prevent expensive mistakes.  They also analyze
and interpret market news and information from the trading floor
to ensure the best possible guidance concerning a specific trade
or portfolio position.  The combination of a disciplined trading
plan, superior order-entry and execution technology, and expert
instruction can help anyone succeed in today's difficult markets
and with unequaled levels of service at very competitive prices,
Preferred Trade may be the consummate online brokerage.

Good Luck!


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