Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 05/17/2001

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The Option Investor Newsletter                  Thursday 05-17-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                         1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

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Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
        05-17-2001        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    11248.60 + 32.70 11328.60 11181.90 1.34 bln   1901/1203	
NASDAQ   2193.69 + 27.25  2216.36  2167.72 2.14 bln   2413/1460
S&P 100   665.58 +  0.98   670.42   663.13   totals   4314/2663
S&P 500  1288.49 +  3.50  1296.48  1282.48           61.8%/38.2%
RUS 2000  504.76 +  7.55   504.76   497.48
DJ TRANS 2957.58 + 32.08  2960.55  2915.96
VIX        25.52 +  0.39    26.68    24.92
Put/Call Ratio      0.59

Warnings In Triplicate!

Another decent day in the markets was followed by a trio of major
earnings warnings from tech companies. After trading as high as
11328 and a +115 point gain the Dow pulled back at the close
on minor profit taking. The Nasdaq is still struggling to break
2200 with three intraday attempts and a close at 2193. Both indexes
posted good days since the obvious reaction to Wednesday's gains
would have been serious profit taking. Without the warnings after
the close this would have been very positive day.

Dell Computer surprised nobody by announcing results that were
inline with already lowered estimates. They had said last week
that they would meet those estimates. They did surprise with an
earnings warning going forward that was not very "Dellish." They
said that next quarter would be flat "at best" with estimates
of only $.15 compared to current estimates of $.18. They would not
provide guidance going forward and said the PC sector was not yet
recovering as expected. One comment was particularly disturbing.
They said there were not a lot of new projects to bid on which
would indicate that the business outlook for future quarters was
bleak. Dell fell about $1 in after hours trading.

Agilent announced they were going to miss revenue estimates by
a few bucks. Say $1 billion or -35%. A billion here, a billion
there, who cares? They warned that they could post a loss of
-.20 to -.30 per share INSTEAD of earnings of +.25 as expected.
Wow, what a difference a year makes! They said orders fell -41%
and cancelled orders totaled over $500 million for the current
quarter. Better hope that tech rebound is just around the quarter!
The company cited an "extremely uncertain business climate" for
the downturn in business. CFO, Bob Walker, said he expected $100
million in cancelled orders for the next quarter as well. When
asked why the number was not higher, considering the $500 million
in the prior quarter, he replied that "frankly, there are not a
lot of orders left to cancel." OOPS! Nyse:A fell to $34.30 in
after hours from a $38.72 close.

PALM wilted after the close when it said that it was dropping
its fourth quarter revenue outlook for the second time due to
poor sales. They also announced that they had terminated the
agreement to buy software company Extended Systems. They are
also going to take an inventory write down of about $300 million.
CIBC said it was shocking to see another -50% revenue drop and
kill the XTND deal at the same time. They expect to double the
previous estimates for a loss of $80 million to as high as $190
million instead. With sales and margins dropping drastically
analysts now question if they will have enough cash to survive
the year. The company itself said conservation of cash was now
their top priority. The stock fell -20% to $5.10 in after hours
from a close of $7.05.

Juniper also got killed after presenting at a CSFB telecom
conference. CSCO announced that they had won two large contracts
and the rumor was they beat JNPR. Plus, Juniper said that earnings
would be flat to down -10% this quarter. Analysts still expect
them to hit EPS estimates by managing costs but the bloom is
off the Juniper rose. Instead of investors hoping that they will
beat estimates like they have in the past, they are now worried
that the sleeping CSCO giant has awakened and is on the prowl.
It is possible that the easy pickings from the past may not
be as easy for JNPR to find in the future.

These were only the headliners of earnings problems for the day
but there were others. Still AMAT and HWP rose on bad news and
comments that techs may have bottomed so our future may not be
that bad. Speaking of the future, S&P futures are down but not
critical so traders are not racing for the exits in after hours.

The sudden burst in the Dow on Wednesday caught many traders
and analysts off guard and they are still scratching their heads.
Is it real or just a head fake? Calmer heads a hoping for yet
another pull back so they can buy a ticket for the train but
adding to yesterday's gains today has got them worried. The Dow
spike from Wednesday has catapulted the index to highs not seen
since September of last year of 11259. That is another level of
resistance nobody had even considered when talking about the
11000 ceiling last week.

The Nasdaq is the most likely to suffer on Friday. With the
2200 level holding and three giant tech warnings after the close
there could be some rethinking of the rally concept. A negative
day for handheld PC makers, desktop box makers and networkers
could prove to be a heavy load for investors to carry on Friday.
Did I mention option expiration? With sizeable profits from the
rate cut rally there is a good chance we will see profit taking
before the weekend. Add in expiration Friday and volatility
could increase. The VIX is currently heading in the opposite
direction and at 25.52 nearing lows set in February.

Investor sentiment appears to be worry about buying at this
level but also worry that they will miss out if they don't.
This is the key. The lack of a sell off after the Fed meeting
has awakened the investor consciousness again and buyers bought
the dip with abandon. They also ran over the wall of shorts
at 11000 with only about an hour of indecision. Major Dow
resistance overcome with only a blink. This should cause any
future dips to be rally points and buying opportunities. Dip
buying is back and until investors get their noses bloodied
again they will continue to do this. If we have a dip on Friday
the odds are good that investors will step up to the plate and
take another swing for the fences. A word of caution, volume
has still not returned. With only 2.08 billion shares trading
on the Nasdaq on Wednesday and 2.14 billion shares today, there
are still a lot of traders not convinced it is real. Until volume
appears traders will buy the dips but still be ready to turn
and run on a moments notice. CIEN fell almost -$6 from the
days high even after beating the street by four cents because
of sympathy for JNPR. There is still no conviction and we need
that conviction if this rally is going to last. Investor sentiment
is still "the worst is over" but they are keeping their fingers
crossed. Remember my admonition from the last two weeks. My signal
to buy long term was the Nasdaq closing over 2250 on strong volume.
Neither has happened yet. Let your conscience be your guide.

Away from your computer? Call 900-378-PICK and get this
information along with the intraday updates including plays.

Enter passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown

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By Matt Russ

Adding to Wednesday's gains, all major indices were in the green.
It's feeling good again, at least in listed stocks.  Like Austin
used to ask, "Can we start buying calls on Monday and selling them
on Thursday?"  Maybe, if you stick to those old, boring two and
three lettered stocks.

Ciena's (NASDAQ:CIEN) earnings report this morning beat estimates
by 4 cents, coming in with $0.20 profit per share.  This boosted
the Nasdaq on the open to 2200, yet it only gyrated in a narrow
range along this line throughout the session.  The Nasdaq peaked
today at 2216 within its 50 point range.  Although the index put
on an additional 27 points after Wednesday's rally, there wasn't
enough strength to push higher toward the real challenge of 2232.
CIEN traded higher on the initial euphoria but then faded almost
immediately and finished off $2.15.  Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR)
also brokedown, evident of weakness in the Networkers.  We would
be looking for support at 2167, which is the 61.8% retracement
level from recent highs to Monday's low, and also today's open.
Below that is the 50% retracement at 2145 and the 38% level of
2125.  This translates over to the QQQs as support at $47.36,
$46.75, and $46.13, with resistance at $48.79 and $49.40.

The breakout on Wednesday was a forceful one, fueled by short
covering at 1272 resistance.  We talked about this crucial
level for two weeks and the breakout squeezed the shorts
real bad.  You can see this in the velocity of the rally,
marked by long green candlesticks with very little selling.
Now Bill had mentioned that an argument could be made for
an inverse head-and-shoulders(H&S) on the SPX.  The upside
target was projected at 1440.  Whether this target can be met
depends on the Cyclicals, Financials, and if the they can
drag Tech higher with them.  The interest rate environment is
favorable and should drive both Cyclicals and Financials.
Next resistance will be in the 1296 - 1300 area.  Support will
lie at retracement levels of 1284 and 1281.  A further pullback
may result in a test of previous resistance at 1272.  On the
OEX.X, 660 resistance was broken, now it should act as support.
Resistance at 670.

DOW 30
On Tuesday, I said that we were still waiting on the Cyclical Index
(CYC.X) to breakout.  Well, on Wednesday it did just that in
extraordinary fashion with an almost 4.5% gain.  This pushed the
Dow well above psychological resistance level of 11,000 and
is a very good sign for the markets.  While people might say that
this move might not have the conviction needed to sustain a
longer run, for reasons such as investors selling out once their
positions get even, I would disagree.  The losing positions are
concentrated in tech and the new leaders for the Dow are stocks
that didn't really participate during the tech bubble, i.e. the
Caterpillars (NYSE:CAT), the Alcoas (NYSE:AA), and the Duponts
(NYSE:DD), etc.  There is real momentum in this index and given
our current interest rate environment, they will continue to lead.
We even got follow through today on the $INDU, another 32 points.
I'm not saying we don't get a pullback after this fantastic run,
but there was a lot of new money in the market establishing long
positions.  We are looking for support at 11117, the 61.8% level
and certainly the 38.2% level, which coincides with 11,000.  The
latter level would be a large pullback.  Buyers would likely be
back before that point, possibly the 11050 area at 50% retracement.
Resistance will be at Thursday's high of 11328, and then 11401
which was last September's high.

Volatility still is laying low.  The VIX.X bounced off of 25 today
and settled at 25.52.  Where's the fear?  The Nasdaq?  We are
entering earnings warning season, so who will be the first to step
up?  The more guidance, the better for visibility.  Until then, we
are sticking with what works and the "old economy" stocks seem to
be doing the job.  Looks like those Commercials were right on those
DJIA Futures.

Trade Smart,

Matt Russ

CBOT Commitment Of Traders Report: Friday 05/11
Weekly COT report discloses positions held by small specs and
commercial traders of index futures contracts on the Chicago
Board Of Trade(CBOT).

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
                (Current)  (Previous)    (Current)  (Previous)
S&P 500
Open Interest
Net Value        +47090      +36513       -49689      -41144
Total Open
Interest %      (+21.09%)   (+14.90%)    (-7.33%)    (-6.05%)
                net-long    net-long     net-short   net-short

DJIA Futures
Open Interest
Net Value         -7572       -6592        +7468      +7488
Total Open
Interest %      (-62.11%)   (-57.98%)    (+21.83%)   (+25.09%)
                net-short   net-short    net-long    net-long

Open Interest
Net Value         +2657       +4288        -9986      -10972
Total Open
Interest %      (+13.59%)   (+22.06%)    (-17.20%)   (-17.02%)
                net-long    net-long     net-short   net-short

What COT Data Tells Us
Indices: Divergence increased on the S&P 500 with the Commercials
adding to their net-short positions by 1.28 percent while the Small
Specs enhanced their net-longs by 6.19 percent.

From here were are in limbo until %values actually switch to flat
or net-long sometime in the future. We could see fluctuation of
positions oscillate up and down for weeks or even months to
follow. A major market hurdle will be the S&P 500 commercial
traders moving to net-long in accumulation stage and that is
still undetermined from here.

Data compiled as of Tuesday 05/08 by the CFTC.


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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 05-17-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

To view this email newsletter in HTML format with embedded
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GE $52.11 -0.10 (+3.10) After Wednesday's stellar rally in GE,
we could hardly ask for better second day action.  GE opened at
$52, and hit intra day resistance at $52.62 twice before
retreating to its new strong support level at $52.  While
the U.S. Justice Dept has given approval to GE's acquisition of
Honeywell, the deal is still being scrutinized by European
regulators, which may be dampening investor enthusiasm to a
certain degree.  However, today, GE Chairman Jack Welch
stated that he expects the European commission to ultimately
accept the deal, and that the teams are working together
constructively.  He also stated that he expected the deal to be
completed within the timeframe already laid out.  Going forward,
conservative traders might want to wait for the Dow to pullback
a little more before entering at the current level.  Monitor
CYC.X, as further strength in the cyclical index could give a
boost to GE going forward.  A breakout and close above resistance
at $52.50 could also give a signal to possibly enter positions.
We are moving closing stops to $50.

GDW $62.79 -0.31 (+1.54) After regaining momentum with the
overall indexes during Wednesday's phenomenal rally, GDW hit
a high of $64.75 on Thursday morning before pulling back.  Strong
volume still accompanies rallies in a signal of strength, as
GDW has now formed an inverted head and shoulders pattern with
the left shoulder at $60, the head at $57.50 and the right
shoulder just below the 10-dma of $60.70.  The bullish spike at
the close bodes well for Friday's opening, and traders can
consider taking positions here, or possibly at a pullback to
$62, if others in the S & L sector are strong.  More
conservative traders might want to wait for a breakout above
strong resistance at $65 with heavy volume.  Keep an eye on others
like WM and ASFC, and set closing stops at $61.75.

XOM $88.73 -0.77 (+1.09) While many pay more at the pump, energy
companies like XOM, TX, RD and CHV pad their revenue streams and
watch their stocks hit respective highs.  Our play objective is
for ENE to make a convincing move through $90 and ride the
momentum as it approaches the next level of resistance near $95.
Thursday's pullback to the converged 5 & 10 DMAs provides a nice
launching point to take entry; although some may want to wait
for the bullish confirmation before going long.  Keep closing
stops at $87, but please don't discount an intraday pullback as
an opportunity to jump into the play.

BA $68.79 +2.04 (+2.79) What more could we ask for? A surge of
buying near the open Thursday pushed BA up to $68 by mid morning,
and the momentum just kept going, until BA reached an intra day
high of $69.85 before retreating to support to the current level.
BA's strength is particularly impressive considering the slight
pullback from the high levels we experienced in the overall
indexes.  While the Dow seems to be in a rally mode, BA continues
to release excellent news of its own.  On Thursday, BA announced
that they had received a new $400 million contract from the
Royal Australian Air Force.  A pullback seems likely, and traders
could try to enter positions if BA retreats to $68.  A very
aggressive trader could shoot for a pullback to the 5-dma of
$66.97, however, we may not see that level again in the short
term if the buying continues.  We are moving closing stops to
$66 to protect gains.  Continue to monitor others in the
defense sector, like LMT and GD, as well as the overall indexes.

CAT $55.25 -0.66 (+2.05) A rallying DOW on Wednesday helped CAT
to gain 5.21 percent on almost 1.8 times the average daily
volume, as the deep cyclical stocks pushed the Old Economy index
strongly higher following Tuesday's 50 basis point rate cut by
the Fed.  Thursday, Lehman Brothers came out to say that they were
cautious on shares of the leading earth-moving equipment maker,
and speculated that the company may make a negative
pre-announcement at some point in the future.  With that, the
stock pulled back fractionally, ending today down 1.18 percent.
While volume today was above average, its up-trend is still
firmly intact, with the 5 and 10-dmas, at $54.06 and $52.96,
respectively, reinforcing support at $54 and $53.  Bounces off
these two levels along with $55 may give aggressive traders
potential entry points.  However, make sure that the stock closes
above our stop price of $53.75.  If the bulls return in force,
then a break through today's intra day high of $56.05 could allow
for an entry on strength, but only if peers DE and DOV are also
moving higher.

EBAY $62.55 +4.69 (+9.30) Wednesday, we initiated bullish
coverage on electronic auctioneer EBAY, citing a number of
favorable fundamental factors, including the company's unique and
viable business model, strong management and share price
out-performance relative to its peers.  Nimble traders who
followed our suggestion of entering on a bullish surge above $58
were amply rewarded Thursday, as EBAY managed to rally over 8
percent on over twice the average daily volume.  Positive analyst
coverage helped ignite investor interest, as Robertson Stephens
reiterated their Strong Buy rating, calling the stock a core
holding.  Already a highly profitable play after just one day, we
are moving our stop price up from $55 to $58.  Higher risk
players looking for entries on pullbacks may find support at $61,
$60 and $58.  For the more cautious, wait for EBAY to surpass the
$63 mark with conviction before considering an entry.  While the
stock continues to vastly outperform its sector, we recommend
keeping an eye on movements in Merrill Lynch's Internet HOLDR

MO $51.94 -0.41 (+0.64) MO appears to be in a consolidation
mode, after rallying from $46 at the end of April.  Short term
traders could take trades from moves between support at $50.50
and resistance at $52.50.  Traders who want to get in before
the Kraft IPO can use this time as an opportunity to pick good
entry points.  A pullback to the converged 5-dma and 10-dma at
$51.70 could be a good entry point, particularly if others in
the tobacco sector are strong.  On Wednesday, MO and RJR were
found NOT guilty in a wrongful death trial brought by the widow
of a deceased smoker.  In addition, MO offered a $1 billion
4% bond rated A2 by Moody's on Thursday.  The longer MO can
consolidate at these levels, the stronger the potential pre-IPO
rally is likely to be.  MO's 52-week high at $53.80 is turning
out to be stubborn resistance, so a break above this level with
heavy volume might be a green light for conservative traders to
enter.  We are moving closing stops tight to $51.

JNY $46.00 -0.50 (+1.05) After breaking above resistance at
$40 in the beginning of May, and surging to a new all time high
at $46.65, JNY has been consolidating at the current levels.
A little more strength in the retail sector, RLX.X, could propel
JNY to higher heights in the days ahead.  Ideally, we would
like to see RLX.X break above resistance at 911, and move to
February's high of 930.  GPS reported earnings after the close,
so monitor the market's reaction to these earnings tomorrow, as
they may impact the retail sector.  Traders can consider taking
positions on a pullback to the 5-dma of $45.86, if RLX.X is
exhibiting strength.  We are setting closing stops tight to
the $45 level, so be prepared to exit positions if JNY closes
below this level.

TGT $38.37 +0.37 (-1.33) TGT has been basing this week, and
it is likely that the stock could make a spurt into its earnings
report which is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 22nd before the
opening.  This week, Walmart reported a 4% increase in first
quarter profits, and CSFB lowered its ratings on TGT to hold
from a buy, which knocked the stock to $37 on Wednesday before
a strong rebound on heavy volume ensued.  TGT's ability to snap
back after the downgrade is testimony to its technical strength.
On Friday, traders should monitor the market's reaction to GPS's
earnings, as this could impact the retail sector. If RLX.X moves
above its current level at 911, this could signal traders to
enter TGT, particularly if TGT could clear its converged 10-dma
and 5-dma of $38.8 with strong volume.  We are keping closing
stops at $38, so end the play if TGT closes below $38.

ADBE $43.60 +2.51 (+3.74) Not content to sit on its gains from
Wednesday, ADBE shot higher right from the open, refusing to
give aggressive traders a chance to climb aboard near the $41
level.  It didn't take long before buying interest had pushed
the stock through the next level of resistance at $43.  While
there was some late-day weakness as traders harvested profits,
it came on relatively light volume, and the $43 level converted
itself nicely to support.  In light of the continued advance, we
have moved our stop up to the $41 level, and a close below that
level would be strong evidence of inherent weakness that has yet
to show itself.  For the time being, it looks like the bulls are
still in control, and aggressive traders can target new entries
on a bounce at either $43 or $41.  $45 resistance will be the
next hurdle for the bulls to clear, and a solid move through
this level will signal more conservative players to step into
new positions.  ADBE tends to move in tandem with the GSTI
Software index (GSO.X), and a continued advance in this index
will help to propel ADBE higher in the days ahead.

MER $68.86 -1.12 (+3.87) After breaking through resistance
Wednesday, the MER bulls decided to rest.  Despite a slight
advance in the Securities Broker/Dealer index (XBD.X), MER
gave up a little ground after twice failing to break above $70
today.  On a positive note, the bears didn't have much success
in attacking the stock's recent gains, as intraday support
materialized near $68.75.  That was until news broke after the
close that the company plans to issue about $750 million of
30-year zero-coupon convertible senior bonds.  Fear of dilution
hit the stock in after-hours, dropping it to just above our $66
stop.  While this could be providing an attractive entry point
into the play, exercise caution, as a continued deterioration
tomorrow could spell a premature end to our play.  Financial
stocks will need to participate if the DJIA is going to continue
its advance, and strength tomorrow will provide confirmation
that the bulls are still in control.  Look for a move back
through the $68 level to provide this confirmation.  Following
the herd as MER breaks above the $70 level will be the more
conservative approach, especially if volume increases closer
to the ADV.

Q $37.82 +0.82 (+0.40) After meandering lower during most of
yesterday's market-wide rally, Q found some interest from
bullish traders near the $36.40 level before rallying into the
close.  The early action this morning was almost a mirror image,
as the stock fell to the same level and bounced solidly
throughout the afternoon, coming to rest just below $38.  Both
of the last two days, the 50-dma (currently $36.34) has provided
support and with daily Stochastics now poking out of oversold
territory, and the broader markets continuing to advance, Q
seems to be setting up for an extended advance.  Our stop is
still resting at $36, and aggressive traders will want to use
intraday dips above this level as an opportunity to initiate
new positions.  Resistance near $38 is keeping a lid on the
recent advance, but once the price pushes above $38.25,
conservative traders will have their opportunity to enter the
play.  The North American Telecommunications index (XTC.X) is
still struggling to get going to the upside, but once it clears
the $988 resistance level, it will provide more support for Q
to advance in the days ahead.


ENE $52.20 -2.81 (-6.00) A lack of resolution to the problems
that are brewing in India led shares of ENE lower today, as it
breached both the $53 and $55 support levels on its way to a 5%
loss for the day.  Lenders to the company's Dabhol Power Company
(DBC) had postponed until Thursday a crucial vote on canceling
the contract to sell power to India's Maharashtra state.  The
company has been sparring for six months now over payment
defaults by the Maharashtra State Electricity board and the
matter is expected to be resolved by a cancellation of the
contract.  India stepped in, urging ENE to renegotiate
the contract, and the crucial vote was postponed until Friday.
Failing to reach a decision today kept uncertainty alive and the
bears grabbed the opportunity and ran with it, pushing selling
volume to more than triple the ADV.  This marks the lowest close
for the stock since January of 2000, and while mild support
exists near $47, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that
the stock could test the $44-45 level before the bulls return.
While aggressive traders may still be able to gain entry into
the play on a bounce up to resistance at either $53 or $55, the
ferocity of the bears over the past 2 days could mean that the
next high-odds entry opportunity will come as ENE falls through
the $52 level, today's low.  Move stops down to $56, as a rally
through that level will indicate the bears are loosening their
grip on the stock.



HAL - Halliburton Hldg Co $47.31 +1.90 (+5.52 last week)

Halliburton is the world's #1 provider of oil field services;
essentially providing services and equipment to customers for
the exploration, development and production of oil and gas.
They operate in 120 countries and serve independent, integrated
and national oil companies.  The company's second business
segment, Halliburton Engineering and Construction Group, builds
energy-related and civil facilities for industrial customers and
government entities worldwide.

Revved up volume levels and a 13.2% move this week generated
some excitement around the office.  Today's technical breakout
coupled with the underlying strength in the energy services
sector presents traders with a positive predilection going into
tomorrow.  We're certainly bullish on the sector.  Halliburton's
competitors like Schlumberger (SLB), Baker Hughes (BHI), and
Cooper Cameron (CAM) all making explosive charges to the higher
realms.  To top it off for HAL, the solid pullback to $45 today
- before it sped through the $46 resistance - further
established a strong level of short-term support.  In regard to
the trailing 5 & 10 DMAs at $44.76 and $43.30, they indeed
bolster our $45 CLOSING stop; but honestly, these technical
measurements may be a bit too deep to consider using as an entry
gauge.  A slight pullback in an advancing marketplace followed
by a high-volume jump through $47.50 does however, offer a more
reasonable opportunity to lock in gains.

BUY CALL JUN-40 HAL-FH OI=2470 at $7.70 SL=5.50
BUY CALL JUN-45*HAL-FI OI=3324 at $3.60 SL=1.75
BUY CALL JUN-50 HAL-FJ OI=1168 at $1.15 SL=0.00  Aggressive!
BUY CALL JUL-45 HAL-GI OI=6393 at $4.70 SL=2.75
BUY CALL JUL-50 HAL-GJ OI=3313 at $2.15 SL=1.00

Average Daily Volume = 2.89 mln


BAC - Bank of America Corp. $56.60 +0.05 (+3.08 this week)

Providing a diversified range of banking and certain non-banking
financial products and services, BAC's operations consist of
Consumer Banking, Commercial Banking, Global Corporate and
Investment Banking, and Principal Investing and Asset Management.
Consumer Banking targets individuals and small businesses, while
Commercial Banking targets businesses with annual revenues up to
$500 million.  Global Corporate and Investment Banking provides
investment banking, trade finance, treasury management, leasing
and financial advisory services.  Principal Investing includes
direct equity investments in businesses and general partnership

It goes without saying that the Financial sector benefits
directly from lower interest rates.  A decrease in rates lightens
the burden that is called the cost of doing business, leading to
higher margins and better than expected earnings.  Since
discounted future earnings in part make up the perceived value of
a stock, improved prospects for future earnings gives share
prices incentive to rise.  The 50 basis point rate cut on Tuesday
resulted in an even more favorable economic environment for
Financial stocks.  With the Fed Funds rate below the two-year
note, banks can buy at the short end of the yield curve and sell
at the long-end, thereby capturing the spread.  On a more
company-specific level, shares of BAC have performed better than
those of industry rivals such as C and JPM.  The stock
successfully tested its 50-dma (now at $53.76) recently,
resulting in a strong bounce of almost 6 percent so far this
week.  Now in striking range of its 52-week high of $61, BAC will
first have to surpass formidable resistance at $57.50.
Conservative traders may look for continued buying pressure to
take the stock above this level before taking a position.  In
doing so, make sure that the S&P Bank Index (BIX) confirms sector
strength.  For aggressive traders, pullbacks intra-day to support
at $56.50, $56, the 5 and 10-dma at $55.22 and $55.55
respectively, and our closing stop price of $55 may allow for
potential entry points.

BUY CALL JUN-50 BAC-FJ OI= 4355 at $7.10 SL=5.00
BUY CALL JUN-55*BAC-FK OI= 2018 at $2.85 SL=1.50
BUY CALL JUN-60 BAC-FL OI= 3246 at $0.75 SL=0.00
BUY CALL AUG-55 BAC-HK OI=10893 at $4.90 SL=3.00
BUY CALL AUG-60 BAC-HL OI=14919 at $2.45 SL=1.25

Average Daily Volume = 5.93 mln




CIEN - Ciena Corporation $57.75 -2.15 (-1.98 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.

Ciena reported results for its second quarter before the market
open today, beating Street estimates by a penny and more than
doubling revenues year-over-year.  Despite the
better-than-expected performance, traders sold the stock in light
of comments made during the conference call.  While the company
did not lower their guidance going forward, the CEO stated about
the current environment was one of uncertainty.  The company also
conceded that it was not completely immune to the slowdown in
capital expenditures on the part of the Telecoms.  What's more,
smaller, hungrier companies are nipping at CIEN's heels, with
upstarts such as Corvis using a competitive price strategy to
capture market share.  Faced with the prospects of an uncertain
future, continued slowdowns in spending from major customers and
the possibility of a price war, it's no wonder the sellers won
out today, as CIEN fell 3.65 percent today on over 1.56 times the
average daily volume.  For this put play, we are placing our stop
at $60 resistance.   Aggressive traders may target failed rallies
as the stock approaches this level, along with $58, but confirm
with volume.  Continued bearish sentiment could take this stock
down to the $52 level in the near term.  If CIEN meets this price
objective, this could be an opportunity to take some profits.  A
break below support at $56 with conviction may be a signal for
conservative players to jump in.  In both cases, correlate
entries with direction and movement in the AMEX Networking Index

BUY PUT JUN-60*EUQ-RL OI=3552 at $7.90 SL=5.75
BUY PUT JUN-55 EUQ-RK OI=2173 at $5.00 SL=3.00

Average Daily Volume = 42.28 mln


JNPR - Juniper Networks $53.44 -4.45 (-0.82 this week)

As a provider of Internet infrastructure solutions, JNPR serves
Internet service providers and other telecommunications service
providers, helping them to meet the demands resulting from the
rapid growth of the Internet.  The company delivers next
generation Internet backbone routers that are specifically
designed for service provider networks.  JNPR's flagship product
is the M40 Internet backbone router, which complements the
recently-introduced M20, which is a router built specifically
for emerging service providers.  The routers provided by the
company combine the features of the JUNOS Internet Software,
high performance ASIC-based packet forwarding technology and
Internet-optimized architecture into a purpose-built solution
for service providers.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you; JNPR is back.  Only one
day after we were stopped out of the play, the company was in
the news again and investors didn't like what they heard,
whacking the stock for a 7.5% loss today.  Underscoring the
strength of the decline, volume came in north of 43 million
shares, more than 50% above the ADV.  So what was this terrible
news, you ask?  Earning the "creative language" award for the
day, the company stated at a CSFB conference that it isn't
changing guidance, but that there is a risk of a 10% decline
in revenues.  Investors didn't take kindly to the clever
wording, interpreting it as a pre-warning warning.  It didn't
take long for the stock to sell off to recent lows with more
than 24 million shares being sold in the final two hours of
the session.  So we're back to where we started a couple days
ago.  The $52 level (also the site of the 50-dma) will be the
next support level for the bears to attack, but with the spectre
of declining revenues, they could very well be more successful
than earlier in the week.  Conservative investors will want to
wait for continued strong volume to push JNPR below this level,
while more aggressive players will want to wait for an intraday
bounce before playing.  Despite an early move above $60 this
morning, resistance should hold firm at $58, and this is where
we are initially placing our stop.  Now that the company's
outlook has deteriorated, look for resistance to turn weak
rallies back at the $54 or $56 level, providing easy pickings
for aggressive traders.  As JNPR moves lower, support levels to
watch for a possible bounce will be at $50, and then $47.

BUY PUT JUN-55*JUX-RK OI=5911 at $6.90 SL=5.00
BUY PUT JUN-50 JUX-RJ OI=9125 at $4.50 SL=2.75
BUY PUT JUN-45 JUX-RI OI=1903 at $2.95 SL=1.50

Average Daily Volume = 28.6 mln



ENE - Enron $52.20 -2.81 (-6.00 this week)

Originally only an energy company, in recent years ENE has
moved into the communications market as well.  Through its
subsidiaries, the company is primarily engaged in the
transportation of natural gas through pipelines throughout the
United States, and the generation, transmission and distribution
of electricity to markets I the northwestern United States.  ENE
also markets natural gas, electricity and other commodities and
finance services worldwide.  Most recently, the company has
moved into the Communication business, developing an intelligent
network platform to provide bandwidth management services and
deliver high bandwidth applications.

Most Recent Write-Up

A lack of resolution to the problems that are brewing in India
led shares of ENE lower today, as it breached both the $53 and
$55 support levels on its way to a 5% loss for the day.  Lenders
to the company's Dabhol Power Company (DBC) had postponed until
Thursday a crucial vote on canceling the contract to sell power
to India's Maharashtra state.  The company has been sparring for
six months now over payment defaults by the Maharashtra State
Eectricity board and the matter is expected to be resolved by a
cancellation of the contract.  India stepped in, urging ENE to
renegotiate the contract, and the crucial vote was postponed
until Friday.  Failing to reach a decision today kept uncertainty
alive and the bears grabbed the opportunity and ran with it,
pushing selling volume to more than triple the ADV.  This marks
the lowest close for the stock since January of 2000, and while
mild support exists near $47, it isn't out of the realm of
possibility that the stock could test the $44-45 level before the
bulls return.  While aggressive traders may still be able to gain
entry into the play on a bounce up to resistance at either $53 or
$55, the ferocity of the bears over the past 2 days could mean that
the next high-odds entry opportunity will come as ENE falls through
the $52 level, today's low.  Move stops down to $56, as a rally
through that level will indicate the bears are loosening their
grip on the stock.


After Wednesday's sell signal on ENE's Point & Figure chart, we
added this energy concern as a put.  Weakness continued today as
supply continue to hit ENE, and volume was huge, coming in at
four times ADV!  We see further downside in this play.  Look for
rollovers from $53 to enter or on a further breakdown through

BUY PUT JUN-60 ENE-RL OI=2935 at $8.30 SL=6.50
BUY PUT JUN-55*ENE-RK OI=2307 at $4.30 SL=2.75
BUY PUT JUN-50 ENE-RJ OI=2163 at $1.80 SL=1.00

Average Daily Volume = 3.62 mln


The Rally Continues...

The stock market extended its recent gains today on continued
strength in blue-chip issues and renewed speculation in hi-tech

Wednesday, May 16

Industrial stocks led the market higher today with the Dow Jones
average closing at its highest level in 9 months.  Technology
issues also rallied as investors applauded the most recent rate
by the Federal Reserve.  The Dow was up 342 points at 11,215 and
the NASDAQ closed up 80 points at 2,166.  The S&P 500 index ended
35 points higher at 1,284.  Trading volume on the NYSE hit 1.35
billion shares with winners beating losers 2-to-1.  Activity on
the NASDAQ was heavy with 2.06 billion shares exchanged.  Hi-tech
advances beat declines 23 to 15.  In the bond market, the 30-year
Treasury rose 20/32, pushing its yield down to 5.86%.

Tuesday's new plays (positions/opening prices/strategy):

National  (NYSE:NCC)   OCT30C/JUN30C   $1.05   debit   calendar
Mellon    (NYSE:MEL)   SEP50C/SEP40P   $0.10   credit  synthetic
Mellon    (NYSE:MEL)   JUN40P/JUN42P   $0.50   credit  bull-put
State St. (NYSE:STT)   JUN90P/JUN95P   $0.50   credit  bull-put

The brief retreat during the morning session provided some good
opportunities to open the new combination positions at favorable
prices.  Since I was not able to monitor today's activity, these
(conservative) quotes are based on "time and sales" data.

Portfolio Plays:

The stock market experienced a strange "delayed-reaction" rally
today in the wake of the Fed's decision to reduce interest rates.
On Tuesday, the FOMC announced they had cut interest rates by 50
basis points for a fifth time this year and looking forward, the
Fed also said the "risks are weighted toward conditions that may
cause economic weakness."  Analysts viewed the cautious statement
as an indication that more rate cuts may occur in the future and
the optimistic outlook combined with favorable inflation data to
cause a buying spree.  Blue-chip stocks rallied to recent highs
with all but one Dow stock ending the day "in the black."  Alcoa
(NYSE:AA), Minnesota Mining (NYSE:MMM) and United Technologies
(NYSE:UTX) closed at all-time highs while Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)
posted a new 52-week high.  Technology components also recovered
with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP), International Business Machines
(NYSE:IBM), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) among
the bullish issues.  On the NASDAQ, chip stocks rallied even as a
number of negative analysts' comments and earnings warnings were
announced.  Goldman Sachs lowered its earnings forecasts on some
popular semiconductor issues and CS First Boston cut its 2001 PC
industry unit growth target to 0%, but the news had no effect on
the renewed optimism for the group.  Stocks in the networking and
Internet sectors were also strong as traders looked for bargains
in high growth shares and computer hardware and software issues
enjoyed excellent gains.  In broader market trading, almost every
group moved higher with retail, biotechnology and cyclical issues
among the best performers.

The Spreads Portfolio was awash in a "sea of green" today as the
Dow experienced its second-biggest point gain this year.  Stocks
in all the major groups rallied and there was very little bearish
activity during the session.  Some of the big winners were Human
Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI), PMC Sierra (NASDAQ:PMCS), Network
Appliance (NASDAQ:NTAP), Nextel (NASDAQ:NXTL) and Cisco Systems
(NASDAQ:CSCO).  Blue-chip technology shares were also strong with
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HWP) and AT&T (NYSE:T)
moving higher.  Among the industrial issues, Providian (NYSE:PVN),
Lehman Brothers (NYSE:LEH), Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER), Progressive
(NYSE:PGR) and Liz Claiborne (NYSE:LIZ) continued to rally and a
recently slumping issue, Unitedhealth (NYSE:UNH) rebounded above
$60 after last week's precipitous sell-off.  The move provided a
great opportunity to close the sold (short) put in the synthetic
position for a very small loss and prevent potential ownership of
the underlying issue.  In the lower-priced category, ADC Telecom
(NASDAQ:ADCT) jumped almost $1 to $9.27 and our bullish play is a
approaching a favorable early-exit profit.  Today's closing credit
offered an $0.80 gain and we will target a $1.00 overall profit to
close the position.

One of our long-term issues, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP) reported
reported favorable second-quarter earnings of $0.18 a share.  The
company's actual earnings, which do not include one-time charges,
were $0.15 per share.  The company also widened its third quarter
revenue growth estimate to flat-to-down 5% but said current third
quarter earnings estimates are reasonable.  Investors cheered the
news and shares of HWP rallied $2 in after-hours trading.  If the
upward trend continues, we should be able to write some new calls
against our current LEAPS.  Sprint (NYSE:FON) also announced new
earnings guidance, saying it expects second-quarter and full-year
revenues to miss estimates because of lower-than-expected profits
from its global markets segment.  Bankruptcies among its wholesale
customers and weak demand for long-distance service will cause the
company's profits to fall short of previous expectations.  Sprint,
which is the United States' third largest long-distance company,
said that second-quarter earnings at its FON Group would be $0.28
to $0.30 per share against analysts' forecasts of $0.32 per share.
On the good side, Sprint said earnings from the FON Group's local
phone and directory publishing businesses would be "in line" with
expectations and although they lowered their price target to $29,
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter analysts reaffirmed their "outperform"
rating on the issue.  Our bullish calendar spread (AUG25C/APR25C)
has already offered a favorable early-exit profit but traders who
plan to remain in the position should consider selling additional
time premium to offset any near-term losses.

Thursday, May 17

The stock market extended its recent gains today on continued
strength in blue-chip issues and renewed speculation in hi-tech
shares.  A rally in Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP) boosted the Dow 32
points to 11,248 while broad buying support in the technology
group propelled the NASDAQ to a recent high of 2,193.  The S&P
500 index finished up 3 points at 1,288.49.  Volume on the NYSE
was fairly heavy at 1.34 billion shares traded with advancing
issues outpacing declining issues by 19-to-12.  Activity on the
NASDAQ was also higher than normal with over 2.1 billion shares
exchanged.  Technology advances beat declines by 12 to 7.  The
strongest issues in the industrial segment were Disney (NYSE:DIS),
McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Boeing (NYSE:BA), General Motors (NYSE:GM)
and United Technologies (NYSE:UTX).  Among technology companies,
Internet and computer hardware shares supported the rally and
semiconductor issues were also popular.  In the broader market,
biotechnology, retail, cyclical, brokerage and airline issues
moved higher while natural gas, oil and oil service and some
financial stocks consolidated after recent gains.

Portfolio Plays:

The Spreads section enjoyed another day of bullish activity and
with only one session remaining before May's options expiration,
it appears this is going to be the most profitable month of 2001.
The recovery in financial issues has helped our portfolio excel
and one of the new positions, Mellon Bank (NYSE:MEL) has reached
the short-term profit target.  After just two days, the bullish
synthetic position (SEP50C/40P) has achieved a $1 closing credit.
In the technology group, Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HWP) was one of
the big winners, up over $4 after saying on Wednesday that its
second-quarter profits fell 66% year-over-year.  HWP's revenues
also dropped 4% over the year-ago period to $11 million but the
company assuaged investors, commenting that it sees "signs of
progress" and was comfortable with the consensus third-quarter
earnings estimate of $0.23 per share.  Our bullish Covered-calls
with LEAPS play at $40 benefited from the upward movement and
there were opportunities to sell June options to reduce the cost
basis in the position.  Among other categories in the portfolio,
the biotechnology section was led by Chiron (NASDAQ:CHIR) and
Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI).  PMC Sierra (NASDAQ:PMCS)
topped the semiconductor segment and Nextel (NASDAQ:NXTL) was a
leader in wireless telecom.  Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) was the biggest
mover in retail stocks and Active Power (NASDAQ:ACPW) led the
utility group.  In the small-cap group, ADC Telecom (NASDAQ:ADCT)
continued to rally, closing at $9.60 and the upside move offered
a great early-exit opportunity in the bullish synthetic position.
Another issue in that section, Stratos Lightwave (NASDAQ:STLW)
jumped over $2 and the recent bullish collar was available near
the target cost basis.

Questions & comments on spreads/combos to Contact Support

                           - NEW PLAYS -

PVN - Providian Financial  $56.85  *** Rally In Progress! ***

Providian Financial (NYSE:PVN), through its subsidiaries, is a
leading provider of lending and deposit products to customers
throughout the United States and they also offer credit cards in
the United Kingdom and Argentina.  The company serves a broad,
diversified market with its loan products, which include credit
cards and membership services products.  The company also offers
various deposit products and has more than $31 billion in assets
under management and over 14 million customers.

I received some positive comments on the recent positions in the
Financial Services segment and since issues in this category are
performing very well, I decided to look for another candidate in
the industry.  Companies that offer credit services are usually
popular in an improving interest-rate environment and Providian
is one of the leaders in the group.  In April, the company posted
30% earnings per share growth for the first quarter 2001 on total
profits of $230 million, well above the $174 million in the first
quarter of 2000.  During the quarter, customer accounts grew to
17.1 million, a 31% increase over the end of the first quarter of
2000, driven by new accounts and strong customer retention.  The
total number of managed loans also increased by $1.3 billion to
$28.4 billion in what is typically a seasonally slow quarter for
that segment.  The CEO said the company continues to build a very
strong consumer franchise, as evidenced by a continued high level
of customer retention during the quarter, and he is very pleased
with the positive business momentum in the midst of an uncertain

In other news, the company recently merged its e-commerce products
and services under GetSmart, a unique, online financial services
marketplace that gives consumers single-point access to a variety
of products and tools from numerous independent financial service
providers.  The site offers an account aggregation feature called
Daily View, online bill paying, mortgages, second and home equity
loans, auto loans, credit cards, money market accounts, long-term
certificates of deposits and other common financial products.  In
addition to providing clients with competitive financial products
and services from its network of partners, GetSmart also offers a
number of branded products, such as the GetSmart Visa card, that
enhances its service offerings to consumers.  In short, GetSmart
offers consumers a convenient place where they can find products
and services that meets their needs and helps them effectively
manage their finances.

Investors apparently agree with the approach the company is using
to increase their business and this position offers a low risk
method to potentially profit from future bullish activity in the
company's share value.  Target a higher credit in the position
initially, to allow for a brief consolidation from the recent

PLAY (very speculative - bullish/synthetic position):

BUY  CALL  JUN-65  PVN-FM  OI=490   A=$0.60
SELL PUT   JUN-45  PVN-RI  OI=1375  B=$0.40

Note:  Using options, the position is similar to being long the
stock.  The collateral requirement for the sold (short) put is
approximately $1,200 per contract.


                   - STRADDLES AND STRANGLES -

UNP - Union Pacific  $59.75  *** Delta-Neutral Speculation ***

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) primarily provides rail transportation.
The company's rail segment includes the operations of its wholly
owned subsidiary, Union Pacific Railroad Company and UPRR's many
subsidiaries and rail affiliates (collectively, the Railroad).
The company has other operations including a trucking product
line, Overnite Transportation Company, as well as other product
lines that include the corporate holding company (which largely
supports the Railroad), Fenix LLC and its affiliated technology
companies, and self-insurance activities.  The company's rail
customers include Eastman Chemical, Midwest Generation, Thrall
Car Manufacturing, DaimlerChrysler, and Toyota.

Almost every week I receive new requests for conservative debit
straddles.  Unfortunately, with the recent market volatility the
number of theoretically favorable candidates has declined.  That
is not to suggest that you can't make money in the strategy, it
just means you can not focus entirely on the classic volatility
theories in your research.  In today's scan, we have identified
a number of interesting candidates and based on analysis of its
historical option pricing and technical background, this issue
meets the fundamental criteria for a favorable straddle.  As you
have come to expect, the probability of profit in this position
is higher than other plays in the same strategy, due to favorable
option pricing but current news and market sentiment will have an
effect on the stock's movement.  Review the play thoroughly and
make your own decision about the future outcome of the position.

PLAY (speculative - neutral/debit straddle):

BUY  CALL  JUN-60  UNP-FL  OI=656  A=$1.80
BUY  PUT   JUN-60  UNP-RL  OI=69   A=$2.60



SNE - Sony Corporation  *** Probability Play! ***

Sony (NYSE:SNE) develops, designs, makes and markets electronic
equipment, instruments and devices for consumer and professional
markets.  Sony develops, produces, manufactures and sell home-use
entertainment hardware and software, principally through Sony
Computer Entertainment.  Sony also develops, produces, makes and
distributes recorded music through Sony Music Entertainment and
Sony Music Entertainment.  Sony develops, produces, manufactures,
markets, distributes and broadcasts a wide range of image-based
software, including film, video, television and new entertainment
technologies through Sony Pictures Entertainment.  Sony conducts
insurance operations through its Sony Life Insurance and its Sony
Assurance subsidiaries.  In addition, Sony is engaged in leasing
and credit financing, satellite distribution services including
program supplying businesses in Japan, and also Internet-related
businesses and location-based entertainment complexes.

Profitable debit straddles are relatively simple to uncover and
there are three rules to identifying favorable conditions for a
straddle purchase.  First, the trader should select options that
are undervalued (cheap).  Next, the underlying security must have
the potential to move (high or low) enough to make the straddle
profitable.  Finally, the underlying stock should have a history
of multiple movements through a sufficient range in the required
amount of time to justify the overall risk/reward of the position.
SNE has acceptable values in all three categories and because it
is based overseas, the issue is also affected by developments in
the international marketplace.  Traders who think Sony is a good
candidate for future volatility can profit from that outcome with
this conservative position.  Our initial target debit in the play
will be slightly lower than the current quoted price, to allow
for some shrinkage in the premiums as the issue has been volatile
during the last few sessions.

PLAY (conservative - neutral/debit straddle):

BUY  CALL  JUL-80  SNE-GP  OI=388  A=$6.40
BUY  PUT   JUL-80  SNE-SP  OI=34   A=$4.00




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