Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 05/23/2001

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 05-23-2001
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        1 of 1
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
        05-23-2001        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    11105.50 -151.70 11262.30 11101.20 1.14 bln   1041/2022	
NASDAQ   2243.46 - 70.39  2299.75  2243.46 1.88 bln   1460/2409
S&P 100   665.19 - 10.87   675.47   664.90   totals   2501/4431
S&P 500  1289.05 - 20.33  1308.36  1288.70           36.1%/63.9%
RUS 2000  507.36 -  9.87   516.74   507.36
DJ TRANS 2969.16 - 21.81  2992.92  2954.32
VIX        24.65 +  1.16    25.11    24.00
Put/Call Ratio      0.73

The Power of One!

The Dow continued the slide it started on Tuesday and the Nasdaq
finally broke its six day winning streak. The two biggest reasons
for the sell off were the crash in the chip sector and the change
in the Senate. Totally unrelated events but both ganged up on
traders with negative results. Was this simply an excuse to take
profits or a sign of things to come?

The worst ever book to build number of $42 of new orders for every
$100 shipped was viewed differently by many analysts but the result
was a semiconductor sell off. Many analysts said the number was so
bad that it had to be a bottom and things could only get better.
Others said the worst was not yet felt and the current month would
be below $40. They can argue all the want but the votes that count
were the dollars entering and leaving chip stocks. On balance the
money flow out of chip stocks was substantially higher. If you are
supposed to buy stocks when nobody else wants them then the chip
sector on Wednesday was your playground of choice. AMAT -3.65,
NVLS -4.16, TQNT -3.13, KLAC -3.58. Intel was impacted the least
on the surface with only a -.73 loss but it was moving down sharply
in the afternoon. I am surprised at the severity of the reaction
since the futures were positive after the announcement. But, as
I said yesterday this would be the challenge for today.

The chip disaster continued after the bell with TQNT warning that
it was cutting its revenue and earnings estimates for the next
three quarters based on sustained weakness in bookings and customer
order delays. They are now expecting earnings of three cents compared
with analyst estimates of eleven cents. Sawtek, SAWS, also warned
that earnings would fall to around seven cents from estimates of
eighteen cents. Just another average day in the chip sector. We
all know that the chip stocks are the leading indicator for the
tech portion of the Nasdaq and today they were leading down quickly.

Other tech problems included manufacturers like FLEX, CLS, SLR
which were downgraded as having hit their price targets. Morgan
Stanley said things were not picking up for these companies as
quick as expected and some had already risen dramatically. FLEX
is up +100% from the April lows. All of these stocks took serious
losses on Wednesday. FLEX -3.12, SLR -1.97, CLS -4.71.

The biggest news to provide an excuse for profit taking was the
potential shift in power in the Senate. Senator James Jeffords
has told friends that he will leave the republican party and
become an independent and he will align himself with the
democratic party for control purposes. The possibilities here
are enormous. With the current 50/50 split control goes to
republicans by default. With a change to 51/49 in favor of the
democrats the swing of control is huge. Not just because they
will gain a vote and republicans lose a vote. That is trivial
compared to the real problems. Every current committee chairman
will change. They will actually be forced to lay down their
gavel and vacate their chair for a democrat replacement. The
impact is huge. Tax changes, energy projects, health care changes,
defense spending, tobacco legislation. Every single facet of
business conducted through the Senate will be subject to change
and the republican agenda will be seriously compromised. The
stock market has been moving higher on the prospects of the Bush
presidency. Whether you are a republican or a democrat you have
to realize that the economy runs on the politics of the government.
Phillip Morris for instance has been up +150% since the election
was decided. +150%, from $20 to $50. This is just an example but
carry that across health care stocks, defense, oil, energy, etc
and you can see the potential stock market problems. Boeing was
at a 52-week high last week and is now heading south. Health
care stocks dropped -10% or more on the news after it was made
known that Ted Kennedy may now chair the committee controlling
their fate. I am not going to ramble on about the varied impacts
but the ripples could be felt for a long time.

Our only hope for a continued rebound is the five rate cuts we
already have under our belt. Once the smoke screen from the
Senate problem clears, the bottom line is still five cuts and
history shows us that markets recover strongly whenever this
occurs. Having a business friendly administration helps but
the American entrepreneur is still alive and well and business
will find a way to succeed. There is a strong bullish sentiment
still underlying this market and many analysts are expecting
investors to aggressively buy the dip. Fund managers who were
hoping for a pull back to take some of the froth out of the
last three weeks should be very happy. Retail investors who
missed the train on specific stocks were hoping to get a second
chance. Well boys and girls, here it is but where will it stop?
We fell back under 2250 on the Nasdaq which was my exit point
as well as under 11300 on the Dow which was the exit point there
also. So you should be flat and waiting. Support on the Nasdaq
is 2000 and 11000 on the Dow. Aggressive traders could buy any
bounce near those levels. Conservative investors should simply
wait for 2250 and 11300 to be broken again. We are not far enough
below those numbers to worry about it yet. Should we break lower
support again I will move those entry numbers down but not until
then. Patience will save you a lot of money and more important
the brain damage associated with those losses. Be patient!

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

Enter passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown

Capturing Stock Appreciation With Leap Puts - Repeat

The Leap Put seminar was held on Sunday to rave reviews.
However dozens of people for one reason or another were
unable to attend. We are going to repeat this seminar one
more time at 9:PM ET on Wednesday May-30th. If you are
interested in attending an online seminar on my strategy
of capturing stock appreciation by selling Leap Puts this
is the last time it will be presented. It will last 2 hours
and be interactive. You will be able to ask questions and
I will answer your questions in real time with charts and
diagrams. You do not need any special software to view the
seminar but you must have a 56K Internet connection or
faster for best results and a separate phone for the audio

If you are interested in this seminar please click here
for more information.


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

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market updates, plays, education and daily commentaries by
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Sign up for a two week free trial and see for yourself at


CSCO - Cisco Systems, Inc. $22.36 -1.12 (+3.11 this week)

Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking for the
Internet.  Cisco's networking solutions connect people, computing
devices and computer networks, allowing people to access or
transfer information without regard to differences in time, place
or type of computer system.  Cisco provides end-to-end networking
solutions that customers use to build a unified information
infrastructure of their own, or to connect to someone else's
network.  An end-to-end networking solution is one that provides
a common architecture that delivers consistent network services
to all users.

We are initiating an aggressive call play on Networking gorilla
Cisco Systems.  While the stock is well off its all-time high of
$82, recent price/volume activity along with a more optimistic
view on the macro economy on the part of traders are just two of
the factors in Cisco's favor.  The company reported earnings
earlier this month, beating Street estimates by a penny.  While
the conference call mentioned limited visibility going forward,
the general sentiment seemed to be that it couldn't possibly get
worse.  Aggressive rate cuts from the Fed appear to be helping
Technology stocks, which were devastated by cutbacks in capital
spending.  Connecting the highs and lows since early April
reveals that CSCO has been trading higher in an upward trending
regression channel.  Having surpassed the 50-dma (now at $18.08)
in early May, it appears that the stock is setting itself up to
take out horizontal resistance at $25, with the 100-dma looming
just above that level.  Bounces off moving average support from
the 5 and 10-dma (at $21.75 and $20.39 respectively) may allow
aggressive traders to take a position, but confirm with volume.
Horizontal support may also be found at $22.25, $21 and our
closing stop price of $20.  CSCO pulled back today after bumping
the top of its up-trend channel yesterday but if the bulls
continue to buy the dips, then a surge back above the $23 level
with conviction may be the signal for conservative traders to
make a play.  Just make sure that sector sentiment is on your
side by tracking the AMEX Networking Index (NWX).

BUY CALL JUN-20  *CYQ-FD OI=88743 at $3.20 SL=1.75
BUY CALL JUN-22.5 CYQ-FX OI=53047 at $1.45 SL=0.75
BUY CALL JUN-25   CYQ-FE OI=29895 at $0.55 SL=0.00
BUY CALL JUL-22.5 CYQ-GX OI=38006 at $2.25 SL=1.00
BUY CALL JUL-25   CYQ-GE OI=58332 at $1.25 SL=0.75

SELL PUT JUN-20   CYQ-RD OI=31356 at $0.45 SL=1.00
(See risks of selling puts in play legend)

Average Daily Volume = 60.51 mln

ABGX - Abgenix Inc. $39.84 -5.72 (-0.92 this week)

Operating in the biopharmaceutical field, Abgenix develops and
intends to commercialize antibody therapeutic products for the
treatment of a variety of disease conditions including
transplant related diseases, inflammatory and autoimmune
disorders, and cancer.  Harnessing the power of the mouse,
ABGX has developed XenoMouse technology, a proprietary
technology which the company believes enables quick generation
of fully human antibody product candidates using mice.  Current
internal product development programs have yielded four
antibody product candidates, with ABX-CBL being the current
front runner.

Due for a break after the past week of stellar gains,
Biotechnology stocks gave back quite a bit on Wednesday.  After
gaining 45% in four days, ABGX gave back more than 14% in the
past 2 days, setting us up for an attractive, if aggressive
entry point.  The recent catalyst for Biotech stocks has been
news coming out of last week's American Society of Clinical
Oncology meeting.  Significant progress is being made towards
developing anti-cancer drugs that operate like cruise missiles,
rather than nuclear bombs.  The obvious advantage being that it
makes it possible to treat the cancer without destroying the
patient.  The first surge higher in ABGX was due to positive
results in its Phase I trials of ABX-EGF, the only fully human
monoclonal antibody in development against the epidermal growth
factor receptor, which has been identified in many solid tumor
types.  The big question now is whether the near-term uptrend
can continue.  After such a sharp decline, bringing the daily
Stochastics to the brink of a drop out of overbought, this is a
play for aggressive traders.  As such, we are starting out with
our stop at the $38 support level.  Consider new positions on a
bounce from this level, but if it doesn't hold, then stand
aside.  More conservative players can wait for confirmation,
initiating new positions as ABGX rallies back through intraday
resistance at $41 and $42.  Make sure volume confirms the
bounce, and look for renewed buying in the Biotechnology index
(BTK.X) before playing.

BUY CALL JUN-35 AZG-FG OI=  45 at $6.40 SL=4.50
BUY CALL JUN-40*AZG-FH OI=3230 at $3.40 SL=1.75
BUY CALL JUN-45 AZG-FI OI= 118 at $1.40 SL=0.75
BUY CALL JUL-40 AZG-GH OI= 240 at $5.60 SL=3.50
BUY CALL JUL-45 AZG-GI OI= 479 at $3.70 SL=2.00
BUY CALL JUL-50 AXY-GJ OI=  81 at $2.30 SL=1.25

SELL PUT JUN-35 AZG-RG OI=  54 at $1.20 SL=2.50
(See risks of selling puts in play legend)

Average Daily Volume = 1.71 mln

WM - Washington Mutual Inc. $36.55 -0.04 (-0.39 this week)

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual Inc. is
a national financial services company that provides a diversified
line of products and services to customers and small and mid-size
businesses.  On December 31, 2000, Washington Mutual and its
subsidiaries had assets of $194.72 billion.  Washington Mutual
currently operates more than 2,000 consumer banking , mortgage
lending, commercial banking, consumer finance, and financial
services offices throughout the nation.

As one of the premier savings and loan institutions, WM has
demonstrated admirable strength by remaining solidly above
its 200-dma of $30.79 for the last twelve months, and
dipping below its 50-dma only briefly in January and April.
After having completed a 3 for 2 stock split on May 16, WM
looks particularly strong in a sector which has continued to
remain a favorite during both market rallies and sell offs
throughout most of 2001.  WM reported record quarterly earnings
of $1.15 per share, a 40% increase from the year ago quarter
on April 17th.  Since then, many analysts have upgraded the
sector, which may stand to benefit more directly from the
rate cuts than other larger and more diversified financial
institutions.  The current bidding war for Wachovia Financial
has also served to put the spotlight on mid cap S & L’s,
as these companies are increasingly perceived to be hidden
gems, and prime takeover targets.  Since it’s stock split last
week, WM has traded in a very narrow range from support at
$35.80 to resistance at $37.40.  Wednesday’s support level of
$36.50 held strong amid a weak market, and could be a good
entry point going forward.  If WM can clear the $37.29 level,
which is the split-adjusted 52-week high, conservative traders
might feel more comfortable jumping on board.  Keep an eye on
other S&Ls, like GPT and ASFC, and set closing stops at

BUY CALL JUN-35*WM-FG OI= 568 at $2.15 SL=1.00
BUY CALL JUL-35 WM-GG OI=1504 at $3.00 SL=1.50
BUY CALL JUL-40 WM-GH OI= 925 at $0.70 SL=0.25

Average Daily Volume = 4.27 mln

DELL - Dell Computer Corp $26.81 +0.87 (+2.02 this week)

Dell Computer is the world's #1 direct-sale computer vendor and
one of the world's top PC makers.  Therefore it's understandable
that the company designs, develops, manufactures, markets,
services, and supports a variety of computer systems including
desktops, notebooks, workstations, network servers, and storage
products.  Dell's clients include the government, corporations,
the medical and education industries, as well as the individual
consumer.  Founder Michael Dell is still the CEO and maintains a
14% stake in the company.

Dell Computers was hailed the zenith of all PC makers today by
two prominent brokerage firms.  Analysts at Goldman Sachs and
Merrill Lynch said the biggest direct seller of PCs is the
most attractive stock amongst the large box makers.
Essentially, it's the company's ability  to drastically cut
prices (and not effect the bottom-line!) that incited the new
coverage.  Goldman Sachs added DELL to their Recommend List
and issued a healthy $32 price target; while Steve Fortuna of
Merrill Lynch, who is rather conservative about the PC market
in general, surprisingly gave DELL a prestigious position on
his Focus List.  He noted that Dell's "cost-model advantage is
compelling and should enable the company to continue outpacing
industry growth by a healthy margin".   The Boys spoke and
investors took DELL through the key resistance level at the 30-
dma ($26.26) and followed up with a critical move through the
200-dma ($26.99) on 1.7 times the normal volume.  A hell of a
day for DELL!  More trail blazing on the NASDAQ would provide a
great environment for the gains to extend over the short-term.
Today's consistent trading at the higher levels, while others
in the Hardware Sector lagged behind, indicates DELL is poised
to extend its technical breakout.   Look for the synergy of an
advancing market, positive sector sentiment as traced by the
Computer Hardware Index (GHA.X), and convincing bounces off the
$27 level to give you the green light to jump into this play.
Let's give DELL some room to operate tomorrow.  Keep closing
stops in place at the $25 level, which is bolstered by the 10-
dma line.

BUY CALL JUN-20 DLY-FD OI=  330 at $7.20 SL=5.00
BUY CALL JUN-25*DLQ-FE OI=22443 at $2.50 SL=1.25
BUY CALL JUN-30 DLQ-FF OI= 7690 at $0.30 SL=0.00
BUY CALL JUL-25 DLQ-GE OI=  422 at $3.20 SL=1.50
BUY CALL JUL-30 DLQ-GF OI= 1929 at $0.90 SL=0.25

Average Daily Volume = 35.5 mln


UHS - Universal Health Services  $75.63 -3.77 (-5.62 this week)

Universal Health Services is one of the largest for-profit
hospital operators in the US.  Their principal business is
owning and operating acute-care hospitals, behavioral health
centers, ambulatory surgery centers, radiation oncology centers
and women's centers.  The Company currently operates over 80
hospital facilities.  Chairman and CEO Alan Miller controls more
than 80% of UHS.

The renewing interest in NASDAQ technologies and the waning
sentiment surrounding the healthcare sector is sending UHS into
a downward spiral.  The thin veil of immunity that entices some
investors to seek shelter in defensive stocks was quickly
replaced with a harsh reality check this week.  UHS and another
industry associates Unitedhealth Group (UNH) are about to make
dangerous leaps into the foreboding abyss.  Combine the bearish
slide under the $80 level, the exceptional volume levels on the
decline, and the intraday volatility and it's a great
environment to start a put play on UHS.  A declining market
would of course portend a greater advantage, however if the
other pertinent elements prescribe doom and UHS breaks $75 with
any conviction, the speculation is for lucrative profitability.
But let's not throw caution to the wind.  Keep a tight rein on
this aggressive play.  We're setting our closing stop at $78,
which is below both the previous supports found near the 5 & 10
DMAs.  But let's not forget that a solid rollover from $79
and $80 could indeed offer the high roller a feasible entry into
the volatility, just make sure the sellers have enough momentum
to take UHS down for the count.  A jump into weakness below the
pivotal $75 level also lends for a profitable opportunity, too.
If you choose to take this route, expect some light support
around the $70 mark.  Remember, it's always better to lock in
gains early than get caught in a buying spree.

BUY PUT JUN-85 UHS-RQ OI=602 at $10.60 SL=7.50
BUY PUT JUN-80*UHS-RP OI=284 at $ 7.00 SL=5.00
BUY PUT JUN-75 UHS-RO OI= 41 at $ 4.00 SL=2.50

Average Daily Volume = 333 K


JNPR - put play
Adjust from $57 down to $55.50

WLP - put play
Adjust from $85 down to $84


EBAY $60.90 -3.35 (-1.74) Despite positive comments on EBAY today
by Microsoft's Bill Gates and coverage initiated by Legg Mason
with a Buy rating, shares of the electronic auction firm fell
5.21 percent on 1.16 times the average daily volume in sympathy
with a down day for the markets.  We mentioned yesterday the doji
candlestick formation indicating indecision.  It appears that
traders may have chosen their direction.  Closing below our stop
price of $63, we are taking profits on what has been a successful
call play.

PDLI $72.08 -6.77 (+1.98) After the strong run of these past
couple of weeks, it appears that the stock may be due for a
break.  Encountering resistance at the $80 level yesterday,
shares of the leading monoclonal antibody Biotech firm retreated
today, falling 8.59 percent on over 1.45 times the average daily
volume.  With no company-specific news to explain the move, it
appears that sector sympathy is the cause, as the Biotech sector
also moved lower.  Ending the day below our stop price of $73, we
no longer recommend taking on new positions.

BA $66.00 -2.00 (-0.50)  BA was a great call play last week, as
the stock reached a high of $69.85 last Thursday.  However,
pervasive weakness in the major indexes today, combined with
uncertainty regarding a possible shift in power in the Senate,
and the implications of this, weighed on BA today.  While the
stock is still technically strong, BA closed below our stop
level of $67, and we are dropping it tonight.

GE $51.35 -1.33 (-1.73)  GE had a beautiful run up from $50 to
$53.55 last week.  However, today's action does not bode well
for GE in the immediate future.  Persistent selling in the Dow
led to profit taking in many major industrial stocks, and GE
was no exception.  While we may very well pick GE at some point
again, the play has closed below our stop level, and thus we
are forced to drop it tonight.

HAL $46.62 -1.37 (-1.19) We caught the tail end of this stock's
run through key resistance levels.  The +$49 peak earlier in the
week was apparently the crest.  Yesterday's minor consolidation
turned heavy profit taking today as many of the energy-related
issues took it on the chin.  The pullback in the Blue Chips and
GOP political hubbub saw the profit taking hit hard and fast.
By early morning, sellers took HAL through the supportive 5-dma
and the $47 level.  Subsequent trading found HAL struggling to
resurface above our protective stop ($47) as the session
progressed.  The final bell unfortunately sealed HAL's fate -
coverage is hereby dropped on account of weakness.

XOM $87.27 -1.54 (-2.93) A nice pop above the captious $90 level
on Monday didn't generate enough enthusiasm to entice momentum
traders to push the limits.  Instead XOM gave a big exhale after
last week's tight channeling.  The crucial break in formation
however, leaves us no choice but to exit the play this evening.
Today's failure to maintain a position above the $88 support
level foretells bearish activity, going forward.  And
furthermore, there's no getting around the clear-cut violation
of our closing stop.  The news swirling in Washington about the
GOP defector casts a dark shadow over the oil and tobacco
companies, too.  All the major refiners XOM, CHV and TX
experienced significant cuts in their respective share prices.

VRTS $73.95 -2.05 (+0.14) It's a shame we have to drop coverage
on VRTS, especially since it offers such good upside potential
on a break through $80.  However, we're committed to disciplined
trading.  The consolidation extended into today's session with
the 5-dma ($74.58) buoying the share price amid the market
activity.  It was an unfortunate turn of events in late
afternoon trading that saw VRTS experience a rather robust sell-
off.  The software issue simply couldn't recover quickly enough to
close back above our $74 protective stop; hence, dropped
coverage this evening.  If you have open positions, sell into a
strong momentum wave and consider locking in gains as VRTS
approaches $77 and $78.  Watch for a possible Nasdaq resurgence

ADBE $44.47 -1.81 (+1.96) Broad market weakness served to remove
the batteries from our Energizer Bunny, and ADBE fell more than
4% on Wednesday.  Even support at our $45 stop couldn't halt the
slide, as investors harvested profits from last week's rally.
Volume was light, coming in less than 40% of the ADV, but a
busted stop is a busted stop.  We'll have to content ourselves
with the modest gains accrued over the past week and move on to
other plays.

MER $68.30 -2.20 (+1.65) Few sectors were immune from the
selling on Wednesday, and Financial stocks felt the pain too.
MER was the subject of a one sided battle all day long, as the
bears continually pushed the stock lower, ending below our $69
stop.  Volume was light, but that is small consolation to the
bulls who couldn't hold that important line of support.  Today's
weakness negates yesterday's breakout through the $70 level, and
this could be pointing to more weakness ahead.

Q $37.60 -0.93 (-1.00) Now that wasn't very pleasant.  Despite a
valiant effort by the bulls over the past week, Q took a
precipitous plunge on Wednesday.  Today's drop wiped out the
stock's gains from the prior 3 days, and then some.  And unlike
the broader market, today's decline came on solid volume.  It
looks like the 4-month descending trendline is still in control,
and the bears are setting their sites on the $36 support level
again.  While our $37 stop is still intact, we are going to get
out while the getting is good.  With oscillators already rolling
lower, it is hard to make a bullish case for Q.


ENE $55.35 +0.40 (+0.45) Buyers and sellers finally reached
equilibrium in ENE, and it looks like the beginnings of a recovery
are upon us.  After meandering higher for the first part of the
week, the stock managed to tack on another fractional gain to push
it above our $55 stop at the close.  Volume has fallen back near
the ADV, indicating that there is no longer a rush for the exits,
and ENE has now cleared its recent descending trendline.  Next
resistance remains at $56.


What Should We Make Of The Volatility Indicators?
By Mary Redmond

At this point, it can be informative to assess the primary
volatility indicators in order to determine if they are giving
us clear buy and sell signals.

A couple of weeks ago, the VXN.X and the QQV.X demonstrated
very unstable chart patterns which looked as if they were
on the verge of breaking out of the previous trading range.
From a purely technical perspective, the charts looked like
a downside breakout was more likely.  This is exactly what
happened.  At the same time, the VIX.X had formed a bearish
triangle, which ended up breaking to the downside as well.

In order to assess the volatility indicators from the perspective
of current market conditions, we need to realize that we may be
in a transition from a bear market, which is what we experienced
in 2000, to what most analysts believe will eventually become a
bull market.

If this is accurate, we may need to reassess our perception of
what is a high VIX, VXN or QQV, and what is a low level for these

Consider that the VIX hit 19 last August, and that we haven't
seen that level since then.  A weekly chart of the VIX shows
that the daily trading range migrated upward during 2000, from
the levels we experienced during most of 1999.

It is possible that the normal trading ranges for these indicators
may very well be considerably lower during a bull market, which
makes sense.  While the VXN and QQV have only been publicly traded
since the beginning of 2001, the CBOE has past text files of the
trading ranges of the VIX since 1986 and the VXN since 1995.

Scanning through the past records of the VIX in the 1980's reveals
that the index traded between 18 and 21 throughout most of the
last half of this decade.

During 1995, we had a strong bull market in which the Dow, S&P and
Nasdaq all experienced gains.  Perhaps the most significant
characteristic of this bull run was the fact that it was marked by
a slow and steady gains in which almost all of the major sectors,
including financials, technology and health care participated.

During 1995, the average trading range of the VIX ranged from
a low near 10 to a high of 18!  The VIX did not hit the 20 level
during 1995.  This isn't really that surprising, because fear was
low that year, as it was one of the best years in stock market
history.  The average range of the VIX during this year was around
the 10 to 13 level.

1996 and 1997 were also good years in the market.  During this
time, the trading range of the VIX gradually started to trend
upwards, such that the VIX's norm trended upward from between 10
and 12(the 1995 levels) to between around 15 to 19.  Then in 1997,
we had a sell off in which the VIX spiked all the way up to 30.

The huge spike in the VIX to over 60 which occurred during 1998
was indicative of a very high level of fear for the following
reason: The markets had rallied from 1995 to 1998 without a major
correction until the second half of '98.  So, in a way, we had a
generation of traders and investors who had never experienced a
bear market.  This exaggerated the fear factor when it finally

As volatility has increased in the financial markets due to many
factors, the average trading ranges of the volatility indicators
have increased.

Similar results are found when tracking the history of the VXN.
You can see that during the period from 1995 to mid-1998, the
VXN's trading range oscillated between about 20 and 40.  It has
only been in the last couple of years that investors' perceptions
of the future moves of the index have become so volatile.

If we are going into a bull market, then we may start having lower
daily levels for the volatility indicators, which is not
necessarily something to fear.

For traders, the important factor to watch might be the actual
movement of the VIX, VXN and QQV, rather than the actual number.
For example, from April 4th to last week, the VIX made a
significant move downward from over 34 to 24.  It seemed that a
pullback of some type was likely, and this is what happened.

Traders can use retracement levels to assess the movement of these
volatility indicators, or simpler tools like the Bollinger bands.
Often, if the QQV or VXN spikes sharply out of its normal daily
trading range to the upside, this can be a strong buy indicator
if used with a negative tick.nq.  Vice versa, a QQV or VXN which
spikes sharply out of its normal range to the downside can be a
sell indicator if it occurs simultaneously with a positive tick
of +500 or more.

After a period of time, traders will find indicators they feel
comfortable with, and ones which work best for a particular style
of trading.  Often, traders end up customizing a system which works
best for daily or weekly trading, which can vary widely from a
longer-term system.

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EXTR - Extreme Networks $35.71 -1.74 (+0.02 this week)

Extreme Networks is engaged in the design, development,
manufacture and sale of high performance networking products
based on Gigabit Ethernet technology.  The company's next-
generation (Layer 3) switches transmit more information faster,
and enable enterprises such as network service providers and
content providers to migrate from older networks to current
technologies.  The company's Summit and BlackDiamond switches
share a common hardware, software, and management architecture
that facilitates a relatively short product design and
development cycle, reducing the time-to-market for new products
and features.

Most Recent Write-Up

Depending on your perspective, it was either a good day or a
boring day.  On its first day in play, EXTR just couldn't get
moving, and ended up closing at the low of the day.  Not only that,
but selling volume was on the rise as the closing bell rang.  That
doesn't sound too good until you think about entry points.
Current levels may provide an acceptable entry (provided the stock
finds support), although the risk takers out there may want to
hold out for an intraday dip between the $36 support level and our
$35 stop.  Entries are equally easy to define for the conservative
player with a volume-backed move through the $40 resistance level
lighting the way for new entries.  Daily stochastics have started
to roll in overbought and the price chart is struggling against
the upper Bollinger band, so be careful not to catch a falling
knife.  Wait for the buying volume to come back and make sure that
the Networking index (NWX.X) is continuing its ascent before


We are looking to EXTR for the call Play of the Day.  After the
Nasdaq pullback on Wednesday, we view this as an entry opportunity
into tech names.  Key level on the Nasdaq to watch is 2232.  As
for EXTR, we liked seeing support at $35 hold, as well as the stock
trading higher as the Nasdaq tanked into the close.  Further
pullback to support at $35 or a break above $36 could provide entry.
Watch $36.44 for possible sellers.  A move through that level could
result in the stock closing the gap from Wednesday's open, near
$37.50.  Be sure the Nasdaq has bullish sentiment.

BUY CALL JUN-35 EUT-FG OI=2336 at $4.40 SL=2.75
BUY CALL JUN-40*EUT-FH OI=2811 at $2.05 SL=1.00
BUY CALL JUL-40 EUT-GH OI=  46 at $4.40 SL=2.75
BUY CALL SEP-45 EUT-II OI=1365 at $6.20 SL=4.50

SELL PUT JUN-35 EUT-RG OI=1003 at $3.20 SL=4.25
(See risks of selling puts in play legend)

Average Daily Volume = 5.99 mln


And On The Seventh Day, The Nasdaq Rested...

The major equity averages slumped today with the technology sector
leading the retreat after a string of bullish sessions.  All of
the major NASDAQ groups moved lower with semiconductor-equipment
and networking shares enduring the biggest losses.  Chip companies
fell on news from industry analysis group Semiconductor Equipment
and Materials International, which announced that the April book-
to-bill ratio for North American-based makers of semiconductor
equipment stood at 0.42, well below March's 0.59 level and at its
lowest level in a decade.  SEMI called the severity and depth of
the industry correction "unprecedented" and Lehman Brothers said
April's data set a number of "worst ever" records, indicating that
the current downturn will be the most severe the industry has seen.
UBS Warburg said that while it believes orders will stabilize, it
is anticipating another major leg down in the future, which should
offer more attractive entry points for investors not in the sector.
SG Cowen analysts also offered an optimistic outlook, saying they
still believe the sector is at or near a "fundamental" bottom.
While computer hardware issues struggled, one bright spot in the
technology group was Dell Computer (NASDAQ:DELL) which rallied on
the heels of positive analysts' notes.  DELL was added to Merrill
Lynch's "Focus One List," based on the brokerage's belief that the
PC maker has outstanding, long-term prospects.  Goldman Sachs also
initiated coverage of DELL, adding the stock to its "Recommended
List" and setting a 12-month price target of $32.  The networking
group finally receded after a series of upward moves.  Fiber-optic
issues were the big losers with Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN) falling after
it was lowered to a "neutral" rating by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
Shares of Corning (NYSE:GLW), Sycamore Networks (NASDAQ:SCMR) and
JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ:JDSU) dropped in sympathy with the news.  The
Dow Industrials experienced a triple-digit loss amid weakness in
financial, major drug and retail issues.  Heading lower were shares
of American Express (NYSE:AXP), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Walt Disney
(NYSE:DIS), J.P. Morgan (NYSE:JPM) and General Motors (NYSE:GM).
General Motors was a victim of the Ford Motors (NYSE:F) downgrade
by J.P. Morgan, which cut its rating on the issue based on a belief
that recent events threaten the company's fiscal performance in the
near term.  In the broader market, oil and oil service, retail,
financial, biotechnology, gold and cyclical issues slumped while
safety stocks such as paper and utility issues ended higher.

Summary of Previous Candidates:

NOTE:  MAY prices as of Friday's Expiration

Covered Calls: (Margin not used in calculations)

Stock  Strike Strike Cost   Current  Gain  Potential
Symbol Month  Price  Basis  Price   (Loss) Mon. Yield

PDII    MAY    65    62.30  83.70    $2.70   5.7%
NVDA    MAY    60    57.76  86.30    $2.24   5.1%

IMCL    JUN    40    37.85  47.20    $2.15   5.8%

Naked Puts:

Stock  Strike Strike Cost   Current  Gain  Potential
Symbol Month  Price  Basis  Price   (Loss) Mon. Yield

CMVT    MAY    65    64.15  65.14    $0.85  13.4%
ENZN    MAY    55    54.55  68.12    $0.45   8.9%
AMAT    MAY    40    39.50  55.00    $0.50   8.3%
CCMP    MAY    35    34.00  69.32    $1.00   7.1%
FCEL    MAY    40    39.20  89.00    $0.80   6.6%
NVDA    MAY    45    43.95  86.30    $1.05   6.5%
MUSE    MAY    25    24.35  46.45    $0.65   6.2%
PDII    MAY    60    59.50  83.70    $0.50   5.9%
NVDA    MAY    55    54.45  86.30    $0.55   5.7%
PDII    MAY    55    54.35  83.70    $0.65   5.5%
VSTR    MAY    85    84.10  96.38    $0.90   5.4%
NVDA    MAY    45    44.35  86.30    $0.65   5.2%
GS      MAY    80    79.00  97.25    $1.00   4.8%

KKD     JUN    40    38.75  69.48    $1.25   9.0% New Ticker
CMVT    JUN    55    53.55  62.68    $1.45   7.3%
NVLS    JUN    40    39.20  52.74    $0.80   7.1%
IMCL    JUN    35    34.35  47.20    $0.65   6.9%
ENZN    JUN    50    48.85  70.30    $1.15   6.8%
FCEL    JUN    60    59.05  81.90    $0.95   5.7%
APWR    JUN    35    34.30  51.44    $0.70   5.5%

Sell Strangles:

Stock  Strike Strike  Cost   Current  Gain  Potential
Symbol Month  Price   Basis  Price   (Loss) Mon. Yield

AMAT    MAY    38p    36.60  55.00    $0.90   7.9%
AMAT    MAY    70c    70.70  55.00    $0.70   6.3%

CHIR    MAY    38p    36.55  51.42    $0.95  10.3%
CHIR    MAY    50c    50.95  51.42   -$0.47   0.0%

XLNX    MAY    30p    29.55  45.31    $0.45   6.1%
XLNX    MAY    60c    60.55  45.31    $0.55   7.4%

CIEN    MAY    40p    39.10  57.35    $0.90  13.2%
CIEN    MAY    80c    80.75  57.35    $0.75  11.2%

CIEN    MAY    45p    44.50  57.35    $0.50  13.4%
CIEN    MAY    75c    75.50  57.35    $0.50  13.4%

HGSI    JUN    45p    44.00  67.00    $1.00   7.6%
HGSI    JUN    80c    81.30  67.00    $1.30   9.7%

NVDA    JUN    55p    53.65  92.11    $1.35   7.4%
NVDA    JUN   115c   116.25  92.11    $1.25   6.9%

Naked Calls:

Stock  Strike Strike Cost   Current  Gain  Potential
Symbol Month  Price  Basis  Price   (Loss) Mon. Yield

LH      MAY   160   161.45 141.15    $1.45   6.6%
CIEN    MAY    90    90.60  57.35    $0.60   6.6%
CHKP    MAY    90    90.65  56.19    $0.65   6.4%
SII     MAY    85    86.40  83.09    $1.40   6.3%

EXFO    JUN    50    50.75  30.30    $0.75  10.2%

Credit Spreads:

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

HMC   $91.29   $86.60  MAY80p/85p  $0.65   $84.35  $0.65  Expired
BGEN  $59.23   $64.12  MAY70c/65c  $0.75   $65.75  $0.75  Expired

Positions Closed: UTX  MAY85c/80c

LEH   $76.75   $80.02  JUN60p/65p  $0.70   $64.30  $0.70  Open
MER   $69.98   $68.59  JUM55p/60p  $0.60   $59.40  $0.60  Open

Debit Straddles:

Stock  Pick   Last   Position  Debit  Value  Target  Status

NUE   $49.80 $50.16 JUN50c/50p $3.90  $2.55  $4.90   Open *

* The June Nucor (NYSE:NUE) straddle traded at a $4.50 overall
credit by Thursday, May 17.  A 12% return in one week...not bad.
What is your trading strategy?  Consistent profits or are you
shooting for the one big return?  Just something to ponder...

The May Alliance Capital (NYSE:AC) straddle traded above the 25%
target credit of $5.38 several times over the last several weeks.

New Candidates:

This following group of plays is simply a list of candidates to
supplement your search for profitable trading positions.  As
with any investment, you must decide if the selections meet your
criteria for potential plays.  Only you can know what strategies
are suitable for your skill level, risk-reward tolerance and
portfolio outlook.  In addition, we recommend that you avoid any
strategy or technique in which you are not completely comfortable
with the potential loss, the necessary adjustments and the common
entry-exit strategies.  (We monitor the positions marked with ***).


BULLISH PLAYS - Covered Calls, Naked Puts, & Combinations


ADVP - AdvancePCS  $64.85  *** Entry Point? ***

AdvancePCS (NASDAQ:ADVP), formerly known as Advance Paradigm, is
a provider of health improvement services, offering its clients an
array of pharmacy benefit management, disease management, clinical
trials and research, web-based marketing support and other health
related programs.  The company generates revenues from providing
services to two primary customer groups -- health benefit plan
sponsors and pharmaceutical manufacturers.  The broad range of
health plan sponsors the company markets to includes Blue Cross
Blue Shield plans and managed care organizations, third-party
administrators of health plans, insurance companies, government
agencies, employer groups and labor union-based trusts.  Advance
offers its clinical research services primarily to pharmaceutical
manufacturers.  The company also works closely with pharmaceutical
manufacturers in negotiating lower drug prices for its health plan
sponsor customers.

We like this issue from a technical viewpoint, as it has a strong
upward trend and excellent buying support near our target entry
point.  In addition, the company's quarterly earnings are due near
the end of the month, and the speculation surrounding that event
may propel the issue to new highs.  Investors that agree with a
bullish technical outlook for this stock may establish a favorable
cost basis in the issue with this position.

ADVP - AdvancePCS  $64.85

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Target
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Int.     Price    Basis    Mon. Yield

Sell Put  JUN 55   QVD RK  133       0.65    54.35     5.1% ***
Sell Put  JUN 60   QVD RL  78        1.40    58.60     8.2%



BAC - Bank of America  $58.61  *** Financial Sector! ***

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is a bank and financial holding company.
Through its banking subsidiaries and non-banking segments, the
company provides a diversified range of banking and non-banking
financial services and products, primarily among the mid-Atlantic
states, including Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia;
the Midwest, including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri; the
southeast states, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina
and Tennessee; the southwest states, including Arizona, Arkansas,
New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas; the northwest, including, Oregon
and Washington; and the west coast, including California, Idaho and
Nevada, and in selected international markets.  Bank of America
operates in four major business segments: Consumer and Commercial
Banking, Asset Management, Global Corporate and Investment Banking
and Equity Investments.

Here is another popular stock in the banking sector and investors
have recently driven the issue to yearly highs on speculation the
company will benefit from lower interest rates.  Indeed, companies
in the banking and finance sector have traded higher over the last
week after the Federal Reserve reduced its prime lending rate to a
seven-year low and indicated that more rate cuts may be on the way.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) slashed 50 basis points
from the Federal funds rate, marking the fifth half-point cut this
year as the central bank attempts to rekindle the sluggish U.S.
economy.  The FOMC said it is concerned about declines in capital
spending, lower corporate profits, high energy prices and rising
unemployment.  The forward-looking comments eased concerns that
the Fed is at the end of its rate cut cycle and finance issues
rallied on the news.  Since finance stocks generally outperform
the broader market in periods after multiple interest-rate cuts,
traders who agree with that outlook should consider this bullish
combination position.

BAC - Bank of America  $58.61

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  JUN-50  BAC-RJ  OI=4448  A=$0.20
SELL PUT  JUN-55  BAC-RK  OI=3666  B=$0.70
INITIAL NET CREDIT TARGET=$0.60-$0.65  ROI(max)=13%



BRL - Barr Laboratories  $64.60  *** Prozac Profits ***

Barr Laboratories (NYSE:BRL) is a specialty pharmaceutical maker
engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of generic
and proprietary prescription pharmaceuticals.  The majority of
the company's current products represent generic forms of brand
pharmaceutical products.  Among the company's generic products
are Tamoxifen Citrate, Hydroxyurea, Methotrexate and Megestrol
Acetate for oncology, Warfarin Sodium and Dipyridamole for
cardiovascular functions, Medroxyprogesterone Acetate, Danazol,
Estradiol and Estropipate for female healthcare and Naltrexone,
Meperidine, Oxy-APAP, Diazepam and Trazodone for other functions.

Shares of Barr Laboratories have been "on the move" in recent
sessions after Chairman and Chief Executive Bruce Downey said
that the company expects to enjoy six months of exclusively,
selling the only generic version of Prozac on the market.  Barr
defeated Prozac's maker Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) in federal court,
invalidating Lilly's patents protecting the anti-depressant,
which will run out in 2003.  The legal victory shortened Lilly's
hold on Prozac to August, when pediatric exclusivity for the
medicine runs out.  Of course, Lilly is appealing the ruling and
has asked for the decision to be reconsidered, but the court
hasn't issued a response.  If the original ruling stands, Barr is
entitled to sell its generic version for six months without any
other generic competitors on the market.  Investors are pleased
with the news and the company's share value has responded to the
new buying pressure.  Our position offers a conservative method
to speculate on continued upward momentum.

BRL - Barr Laboratories  $64.60

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT   JUN-55  BRL-RK  OI=10  A=$0.50
SELL PUT   JUN-60  BRL-RL  OI=2   B=$1.10
INITIAL NET CREDIT TARGET=$0.70-$0.75  ROI(max)=16%



FNM - Fannie Mae  $79.81  *** A Big Day! ***

Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) is a private, shareholder-owned company that
works to assure that mortgage money is readily available for
existing and potential homeowners in the United States.  Fannie
Mae does not directly lend money to homebuyers, but works with
lenders to make sure that there is no shortage of funds available
for mortgage loans.  Fannie Mae was initially a part of the Federal
Housing Administration (FHA) and authorized to buy only FHA-insured
loans to replenish lenders' supply of money.  Today, Fannie Mae's
objective is to increase the availability and affordability of
homeownership for low-, moderate- and middle-income Americans.  The
method in which Fannie Mae accomplishes this is by purchasing
mortgages from a variety of institutions, which make up the primary
mortgage market.  Fannie Mae then buys the mortgage thus allowing
the primary market lender to replenish their funds and allow them
to lend more money to home buyers.

Fannie Mae shares rallied today on speculation of a major power
shift in the country's political arena.  Vermont Senator James
Jeffords is expected to announce Thursday that he is leaving the
Republican Party and his departure would end the 50-50 split in
the Senate, giving operational control to the Democrats.  The
Democratic Party will gain control of the chairmanships of all
committees, with the exception of the Committee on Environment and
Public Works.  The move would effectively give Democrats control
of the Senate agenda, allowing them to offer stiff opposition to
legislation they don't favor and there are some market sectors
that would benefit from the political balance.  Mortgage finance
issues are in this group, as the new head of the Senate Banking
Committee, Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes is a supporter of more
favorable legislation for these companies.

Traders who agree with the bullish potential for this group can
speculate on their share-value performance with this conservative
combination position.  Target a higher premium initially to allow
for a brief consolidation from today's gains.

FNM - Fannie Mae  $79.81

PLAY (very conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  JUN-70  FNM-RN  OI=4148  A=$0.20
SELL PUT  JUN-75  FNM-RO  OI=5190  B=$0.60



KKD - Krispy Kreme  $69.48  *** Pre-Split Rally! ***

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE:KKD) is a branded specialty retailer
of premium quality doughnuts.  KKD opened its first store in 1937,
and there are now hundreds of Krispy Kreme outlets nationwide.
The company's principal business is the high volume production
and sale of a variety of premium quality doughnuts, including its
signature Hot Original Glazed.  The unique company was recognized
in 1997 with the induction of Krispy Kreme artifacts into the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
Krispy Kreme differentiates itself form other donut-makers by
combining quality ingredients, vertical integration and a unique
retail experience featuring its stores' fully displayed production
process, or doughnut making theater.

KKD has been a popular and volatile issue in the past few months,
with most of the activity centered around "short-covering" rallies.
The recent announcement of a 2-for-1 stock split created a similar
"buying frenzy" and now the stock is off to the races again.  The
new shares of KDD will be distributed on June 14 to shareholders
of record as of May 29 and the news is just another catalyst for
upward momentum.  Those who agree with the current bullish outlook
for KKD can profit from future upside activity with these positions.

KKD - Krispy Kreme  $69.48

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Target
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Int.     Price    Basis    Mon. Yield

Sell Put  JUN 50   KKD RJ  2011      0.95    49.05     8.5% ***
Sell Put  JUN 55   KKD RK  3144      1.65    53.35    14.0%
Sell Put  JUN 60   KKD RL  3107      2.80    57.20    17.5%



THQI - THQ Incorporated  $45.75   *** Technicals Only! ***

THQ (NASDAQ:THQI) is a developer, publisher and distributor of
interactive entertainment software for hardware platforms in the
home video game market.  The company publishes titles for Sony's
PlayStation 2, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Game Boy, and PC's in most
interactive software genres.  THQ has released an aggregate of
253 titles as of December 31, 2000 and its many customers include
Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, Electronics Boutique, Target, Kmart Stores,
Babbages Etc., Best Buy, other national and regional retailers,
discount store chains and specialty retailers.

THQ was one of the few stocks we saw today with a truly bullish
outlook.  Investors, as well as analysts, favor the issue and
on May 1, Credit Suisse First Boston Technology Group analyst
Heath Terry initiated new coverage on several companies in the
interactive entertainment industry, including THQI, with a "buy"
rating.  He believes the industry is just beginning what will be
the "largest and most significant growth phase in its history."
With a growing customer base, new consoles from Nintendo and
MicroSoft due this fall, and the growth of online and wireless
gaming, the industry is one of the few bright spots in a dull
market.  In other news, THQI recently announced a new division;
THQ Wireless, dedicated to developing content exclusively for
the emerging mobile entertainment arena.  Technically, the stock
is in a strong, Stage II climb with excellent buying support as
as it approaches a new all-time high.  The 50-dma should provide
the first level of support for those wishing to "target shoot" a
cost basis in the issue.

THQI - THQ Incorporated  $45.75

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option  Open     Closing  Cost     Target
Req'd     Strike   Symbol  Int.     Price    Basis    Mon. Yield

Sell Put  JUN 40   QHI RH  40        0.75    39.25     7.5% ***
Sell Put  JUN 45   QHI RI  105       2.40    42.60    15.9%



Neutral Plays - Straddles & Strangles


FLR - Fluor  $60.54  *** Probability Play! ***

Fluor (NYSE:FLR) is a holding company that provides services on a
worldwide basis in engineering, procurement, building construction,
operations, project management and business services.  Flour's
services are grouped into three operating segments.  Fluor Daniel
provides a range of design, engineering, procurement, construction
and other services to clients in a broad range of industrial and
geographic markets on a worldwide basis.  Fluor Global Services
include equipment sales, temporary technical and non-technical
staffing, services to the U.S. government, and also productivity
consulting services and maintenance management.  Fluor Signature
Services provides integrated business services and business
infrastructure support in the areas of human resources, finance,
accounting, safety, information technology, knowledge management
and office support services.

This position meets our criteria for a favorable straddle; cheap
option premiums, a history of adequate price movement and future
events or activities that may generate volatility in the issue
or its industry.  This selection process provides the foremost
combination of low risk and potentially high reward.  As with
any recommendation, it should be reviewed thoroughly, so you can
make your own decision about the future outcome of the position.

PLAY (speculative - neutral/debit straddle):

BUY  CALL  JUN-60  FLR-FL  OI=160  A=$3.00
BUY  PUT   JUN-60  FLR-RL  OI=246  A=$2.60


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