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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 02/21/2002

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Thursday 02-21-2002
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                       1 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
************************************************************      
      02-21-2002           High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA     9834.68 -106.49 10029.94  9831.98 1.34 bln   1290/1839
NASDAQ   1716.24 - 59.33  1769.37  1716.24 1.81 bln   1188/2319
S&P 100   548.58 -  9.01   559.57   547.98   Totals   2478/4158
S&P 500  1080.95 - 17.03  1101.50  1080.24             
RUS 2000  458.44 -  8.81   467.71   458.43
DJ TRANS 2714.21 + 17.08  2752.08  2693.92
VIX        25.72 +  1.46    26.20    23.48
VXN        48.06 +  1.36    48.73    45.72
TRIN        1.43 
PUT/CALL    0.82
************************************************************ 

Did You Trust The Bounce?

I hope not! I warned you on Tuesday that any bounce would just 
be a short squeeze oversold rally and today proves that to be 
true. The continued weakness in tech stocks proved too much for 
the Dow to carry and resistance at 10,000 held once again. Worries
continued about IBM accounting practices, INTC oversupply, more
job cuts by Boeing and the new wild card, rising mid-east tensions.



 



 



 

Oil was about the only positive sector on the boards today and
that was based on a Japanese newspaper claiming the U.S. already
had troops in IRAQ. The U.S. denied the report mid-morning but
oil held on the general feeling that if not today it is only a
matter of time before the rumor becomes true.

The problem list today began with CSCO and a new article in 
the New York Post calling into question Cisco's accounting
practices again. The post said that 12 top Cisco officials did 
not disclose stakes in a Silicon Valley partnership that made
significant profits during the 1990s. CSCO fell to $15.00 on
106 million shares. What happened to those experts on CNBC
who offered to take all the CSCO at $45 that anyone wanted to
sell?

Adding to the CSCO woes was a warning from Ciena that Q2 revenues
would be less than expected. CIEN said there continues to be a 
high level of uncertainty surrounding service providers near 
term spending. "Customers are continuing to delay deployment of
new networks and we have received information from two major
customers that they may purchase significantly less from us than
previously expected." Q2 revenue is now only expected to be $110
million instead of $148 million.

Adding to the telecom sector demise was a warning by Bell South
that revenue would be less than expected for 2002 and they were
going to reduce cap-ex spending by -$500 million. BLS said 
deteriorating economic conditions in Argentina and currency
devaluations would impact earnings.

The tech sector already hit by the telecom woes above was also
hit by a downgrade to Intel by Banc of America. They said the
supply of processors was catching up to demand. An excess supply
of chips would prevent any price hikes from the current levels.
Solomon and CSFB came to Intel's defense with SSB saying they
would buy it up to $45. With today's close at $29.48 that would
appear to be a generous recommendation.

The tech sector was the drag on the Dow, which attempted to add
to the Wednesday rally gains. Unfortunately the Dow techs were
all heading in the opposite direction from the other blue chips.
IBM lost nearly $3 again hitting a new four-month low at $96.40
on continued accounting worries. IBM helped lead the average
lower with fears that if IBM was dirty then many others may be
also. 

Another Dow component, Boeing, added to the gloom by announcing
that it would cut -1,050 jobs at its satellite operations unit.
AIG dropped -2.52 on news it had received a subpoena from the
SEC related to deals they structured for PNC Financial. PNC fell
last week on accounting concerns and that concern is mutating
into three companies AIG setup for structured financing for PNC.
The Enron collapse has called into question all such off balance
sheet transactions including those at many blue chip companies.

After the close BEA Systems warned that the next quarter could
be flat to down. XLNX raised its first quarter revenue estimates.
(fiscal 4Q for them) They claim sales of their programmable
semiconductors were strong and could raise revenue by +10%.
AMGN fell after announcing they would sell $2.5 billion in
convertible notes.

AOL continued its decline after Janus said it had trimmed its
stake in the company substantially. Actually Janus sold all of
its stake in EMC, dropped 20 million shares of NOK and cut its
exposure to CSCO substantially. Who did they replace these
tech stocks with? LLY, MO, RTN, C and Berkshire Hathaway. See 
the new trend? Techs are out! Multiply this by several thousand
funds and you can see why tech stocks are still under pressure
and out of favor.

Retail investors bailed out of all stocks with $3.1 billion
cash flowing out of equity funds for the four days ended on
Wednesday. January fund inflows were the worst in eleven years
with flows in February heading in the opposite direction. 

With economic news showing that the recession is already over
and GDP is rising it is strange that investors are still in
flight mode. The rise in unemployment claims by +10,000 was
not a big event and the Philadelphia Fed Survey beat expectations
significantly at 16.0. This is the second positive month in a
row with yet another drop in inventories. While employers still
expect an increase in business activity over the next six months
they are not as certain as they were last month. 

Definitely the market action is reflecting concern over current
events instead of future expectations. The rebound out of the
September depths went too far too fast and bears are taking
every opportunity to sell the rallies. Today was picture 
perfect with resistance at 10,000 triggering the selling which
accelerated as the day closed. The tech sector is just not
showing evidence of an economic rebound that would justify 
the current valuations and with the accounting clouds growing
there is no reason to buy. Funds are bleeding cash and retail
investors are getting killed with every dip they buy. 

While Friday may be a prime example of bipolar trading it should
not offer any spectacular opportunities for long term positions.
Techs may rally some from the huge -59 point drop but it is
not likely. The Nasdaq closed at lows not seen since October
with all major sectors under pressure. The next bounce may 
not be until 1675 or lower. The Dow will still be hostage to
INTC, MSFT, HWP, IBM as tech leaders and JPM, C, SBC as weak
sisters. Support on the Dow is around 9750. We are vacillating
from overbought to oversold on a daily basis now and the only 
saving grace from Thursday was the dead stop by the S&P at
1080 again. The long term trend for the S&P is still bearish
but 1080 has held since late January with only minor incursions.
As long as the S&P holds this level the Dow/Nasdaq could take a 
Friday breather. Next week is another story and we will try to 
diagram that one on Sunday.

Enter very passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown
Editor


********************
INDEX TRADER SUMMARY
********************

Biased-Bull Media Pundits: Please Stop Crying
Austin Passamonte

Once again I had to turn CNBC off in disgust tonight. Makes my 
stomach turn the way all those non-market participant talking 
heads wail away about how bad the market is right now, how surly 
floor traders are, etc ad naseum. 

Perhaps those surely traders would cheer up a bit if they just 
took our advice, shorted every bear-market rally attempt and ride 
the waves of success. Nothing cheers a person up faster than 
profits in the ol' trading account and long puts/short calls, 
stocks or futures are the next best thing to a printing press 
churning our crispy Franklin notes right now.

(60/30-Minute Charts: OEX)


 

Last night we posted this chart in Swing Trade Gameplan and Market 
Wrap too, or something similar to it. About all we had to know 
today was short at resistance when chart signals begin to turn 
bearish in unison. They did, price action formed a clear bear flag 
pattern, it broke to confirm and traders were in from 559 to 557 
areas. At 2:00pm EST the OEX Mar 550 put went from $900 to $1,350 
and looks to run higher on Friday. QQQ puts did much better. End 
of story about "bad markets". 

(Weekly/Daily Charts: SOX)


 

Sox took the biggest technlogy hit today and looks to continue on 
Friday. Broke below a long-term wedge and if it cannot muster 
upside strength to push back inside soon, look for September lows 
to be visited from here.

(Daily Charts: BTK)


 

Biotechs had been strongest of the bunch, relatively speaking. I 
was bullish this sector myself recently but must rethink that idea 
now. 50/200 day moving averages just went bearish, stochastic 
values have been weak for days and the continual channel held 
resistance and finds price action looking for support. If the mid-
line (black) isn't it, watch that lower red line for next stop on 
the southern route.

A number of readers have asked about going long the BBH or BTK 
options etc due to relative strength versus the SPX. While 
relative strength is an important measure of market sentiment, the 
SPX is very weak right now. So what does that say about two 
weaklings, one of which is stronger than the other? Relative 
strength is relative, and I wouldn't go long either of those 
markets at gunpoint right now myself.

Turn Right!
Yesterday I posted an analogy in Market Monitor about traders who 
only play the upside with taxi cab drivers who choose to only make 
left turns. Readers respond: "The article about the taxi driver 
never taking left turns drove home the point. Bought my 1st put 
contract today with your insight on DJX 98 put. In and out with 40 
bps. Thank You! [JS]"

I'm thrilled to hear the ice is broken for JS and plenty more 
green lies ahead when charts turn red more often than not in 2002 
and possibly long beyond. Please don't miss out on your share as 
well!

When In Doubt, Sell It Short Right Now
austinp@OptionInvestor.com


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


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

Tech Wreck
By Eric Utley

Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN) and Bellsouth (NYSE:BLS) issued warnings in
one form or another Thursday morning.  Banc of America reduced
its '02 estimates for Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).  Tech stocks were
whacked across the board.

The selling was far from deliberate.  The Semiconductors (SOX.X),
Networkers (NWX.X and FOP.X), Hardware (GHA.X) and Software
(GSO.X) concerns were hammered hard.

In contrast, Energy (OSX.X, OIX.X, XNG.X), Health Care (HMO.X),
Airline (XAL.X), and Defense (DFI.X) issues performed well.
Thursday's bifurcated market, in my opinion, was a microcosm
for what will become of the market this year.

Then there was gold, specifically the Gold and Silver Index
(XAU.X), up to its usual self.  The XAU.X finished 3.16 percent
higher in Thursday's session, while longer dated Treasuries
firmed up as well.  The continued defensive positioning by the
market does not bode well for stocks in general.

More disconcerting was the development in the Nasdaq-100
Bullish Percent ($BPNDX) during Wednesday's session.  The
indicator reversed back into bear confirmed territory, completely
removing any bullish tendencies I thought I had.  Meanwhile,
the Dow Jones Bullish Percent ($BPINDU) reversed into bull
confirmed, setting up what I believe will eventually lead to a
bear confirmed reading in the not too distant future.

Yet the Arms Index (INDEX:TRIN) continues to flash short-term
oversold readings.  The 5-day reading is back above 1.50, noted
as an extreme oversold reading.  In the recent past, however, the
extreme readings of the 5-day have lead to only minimal and
very temporary rebounds in stocks.

What I find almost amazing is the inability of the fear gauges
to trade measurably higher in light of the overwhelming weakness
in stocks, especially the Nasdaq-100 Volatility Index (VXN.X).
Even the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX.X) can't get out of
its own way, which tells me too much complacency remains in
this market.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Market Averages


DJIA ($INDU)

52-week High: 11350
52-week Low :  8062
Current     :  9835

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma:  9844
 50-dma:  9917
200-dma: 10062



S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1383
52-week Low :  945
Current     : 1081

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1100
 50-dma: 1129
200-dma: 1157



Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 2771
52-week Low : 1089
Current     : 1348

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1435
 50-dma: 1559
200-dma: 1590



Oil Service ($OSX)

The Oil Service group was by far the best performing sector in
Thursday's session.  Talk of military action in Iraq continued
to lend a bid to the group.  The commodity finished 48 cents
higher in Thursday's trading in the wake of data that revealed
lower than expected inventories.  The OSX finished 3.91 percent
higher.

52-week High: 139
52-week Low :  58
Current     :  89

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 85
 50-dma: 93
200-dma: 89


Semiconductor ($SOX)

Chip shares fell under heavy pressure as valuation and
earnings concerns fell upon the group.  Of course the Intel
(NASDAQ:INTC) didn't help the cause.  The SOX finished lower
by 6.67 percent in Thursday's session.

Leading the way lower were shares of Advanced Micro (NYSE:AMD),
which shed 10.73 percent, and Altera (NASDAQ:ALTR), which dropped
by 10.64 percent.

52-week High: 711
52-week Low : 344
Current     : 507 

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 542
 50-dma: 546
200-dma: 549

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Market Volatility

The VIX's 200-dma is coming into play more than I had previously
expected.  The VIX rolled over from its 200-dma in Wednesday's
session, to finish on its 50-dma.  I'll still be watching for a
close above the 200-dma for signs of elevated fear.

The VXN closed ever-so-slightly above its 50-dma in Thursday's
session, but is still lagging the VIX in terms of percent on days
of heightened fear.  Let's put it another way: The VXN is only
six points away from its all-time low, yet the NDX shed 4.26
percent Thursday.  You do the math.

CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) - 25.72 +1.46
Nasdaq-100 Volatility Index  (VXN) - 48.06 +1.36

-----------------------------------------------------------------

          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume
Total          0.82        654,481       539,442
Equity Only    0.69        547,471       382,667
OEX            1.13         12,671        14,265
QQQ            1.71         73,509       125,724
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          52      + 0     Bull Alert
NASDAQ-100    31      - 1     Bear Confirmed
DOW           57      + 0     Bull Confirmed
S&P 500       58      + 1     Bull Correction
S&P 100       59      + 0     Bull Correction

Bullish percent measures the number of stocks in an index 
currently trading on a buy signal on their point and figure 
chart.  Readings above 70 are considered overbought, and readings 
below 30 are considered oversold.

Bull Confirmed  - Aggressively long
Bull Alert      - Cautiously long
Bull Correction - Pause or pullback in upward trend
Bear Alert      - Take defensive action if long
Bear Confirmed  - High risk if long, good conditions for shorting
Bear Correction - Pause or rebound in downtrend

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 5-Day Arms Index  1.58
10-Day Arms Index  1.20
21-Day Arms Index  1.31
55-Day Arms Index  1.23

Extreme readings above 1.5 are bullish, and readings below .85 
are bearish.  These signals don't occur often and tend be early, 
but when the do, they can signal significant market turning 
points.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Market Internals

        Advancers     Decliners
NYSE      1290           1839
NASDAQ    1188           2319

        New Highs      New Lows
NYSE      126             60
NASDAQ     87             81

        Volume (in millions)
NYSE     1,347
NASDAQ   1,811

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Commitments Of Traders Report: 02/12/02

Weekly COT report discloses positions held by small specs
and commercial traders of index futures contracts at the 
Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade. COT data 
can be found at www.cftc.gov.

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 tend 
to be wrong.  

S&P 500

Commercial traders grew more bearish last week with a net increase
in the group's bearish position by about 3,600 contracts.  Small
traders grew more bullish by shedding more shorts than longs.  The
group's net bullish position increased by about 3,000 contracts.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI 
01/29/02      345,583   401,923   (56,340)   (7.5%)
02/05/02      347,583   401,569   (53,986)   (7.2%)
02/12/02      355,276   412,868   (57,592)   (7.5%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (111,956) -   3/6/01
Most bullish reading of the year: ( 36,481) - 10/16/01

Small Traders Long      Short      Net     % of OI
01/29/02      128,826     63,127   65,699     34.2%
02/05/02      128,235     64,404   63,831     33.1%
02/12/02      126,730     59,902   66,828     35.8%

Most bearish reading of the year:  36,513 - 5/01/01
Most bullish reading of the year:  91,122 - 3/06/01
 
NASDAQ-100

Commercial traders shed a small number of shorts and added a
few longs for a decline in the group's net bearish stance.  Small
traders' actions resulted in a small decline in their net
bullish position.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI 
01/29/02       31,577     33,651    (2,074)  (3.2%)
02/05/02       32,357     35,405    (3,048)  (4.5%)
02/12/02       32,712     34,841    (2,129)  (3.2%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (15,521) -  3/13/01
Most bullish reading of the year:   7,774  - 12/21/01

Small Traders  Long     Short      Net     % of OI
01/29/02        9,709     8,293     1,416      7.9%
02/05/02       10,416     8,173     2,243     12.1%
02/12/02        9,009     7,415     1,594      9.7% 

Most bearish reading of the year:  (9,877) - 12/21/01
Most bullish reading of the year:   8,460  -  3/13/01

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL

Commercial interests increased both long and short positions for
a net increase in the group's bullish position.  However, % of OI
dropped.  Small traders grew more bearish with an increase in
the group's net short position as well as % of OI.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
01/29/02       19,956    12,171    7,785     24.2%
02/05/02       21,868    12,068    9,800     28.9%
02/12/02       26,811    16,488   10,323     23.8% 

Most bearish reading of the year: (8,322) -  1/16/01
Most bullish reading of the year: 15,135  - 10/16/01

Small Traders  Long      Short     Net     % of OI
01/29/02        5,872     9,709    (3,837)   (24.6%)
02/05/02        5,764    10,528    (4,764)   (29.2%)
02/12/02        4,562    10,038    (5,476)   (37.5%) 

Most bearish reading of the year:  (8,777) - 10/12/01
Most bullish reading of the year:   1,909  -  1/16/01

-----------------------------------------------------------------


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


***********************
INDEX TRADER GAME PLANS
***********************

IS Swing Trade Model: Thursday 2/21/2002
Further Down To Go


News & Notes:
------------
From last night's Summation: " Here's our rally, right up to 
resistance as long-term charts look bearish. Couldn't ask for it 
to be scripted any better than this. From here we test the 
downside at first opportunity, and our fondest wish would be a 
strong upside move at the open that smacks resistance and rolls.
Hey... a fella can dream, can't he?"

Why yes he can, and sometimes dreams come true. Indexes barely 
dropped far enough to tickle three of our listed triggers before 
moving higher to fail precisely where we expected they would. 
Either way, downside entries worked just fine today after a few 
very questionable hours of sideways market action and a valiant 
effort by the bulls to rally Dow Industrials.


Featured Markets:
----------------
[60/30-Min Chart: OEX]


 

Right up to resistance noted last night and "smack"... down we go. 
Room to fall lower from here as noted in tonight's Index Wrap charts.

[60/30-Min Chart: SPX]


 

Another gap failure and solid roll today. Still tracking long 
puts.


[60/30-Min Chart: QQQ]


 

The NDX began today weak and never looked up from there. Solid 
drop and relatively large move for the NDX today.


Summation:
---------
We are still tracking open puts with close stops in place. If the 
market gaps open lower at the bell we will take exits there, but 
could easily see Friday's session close near its low. Traders 
holding solid gains must carefully consider booking them in the 
account at first chance on Friday and redeploying from there. 
Updates in Market Monitor from before the bell will manage current 
trades accordingly.


Trade Management:
----------------
Option traders may choose listed In-The-Money (ITM) or Out-The-
Money (OTM) contracts by personal preference. They are selected 
based on volume, open interest and "Delta" values in that order. 
Our preference is usually OTM contracts except for the last few 
days of expiration when ATM or ITM contracts are preferred.

Entry triggers are points where plays are tracked when price 
action breaks above for calls or below for puts. Stops are the 
exact opposite of that. Sell targets are points to exit based on 
index levels or %gain on option contract price as noted.

*No entry targets listed mean the models are idle at that time.


New Play Targets:
----------------
         QQQ                          DJX
Mar Calls: 37 (QQQ-CK)            Mar Calls: 99 (DJV-CA)  
Long: BREAK ABOVE none            Long: BREAK ABOVE none
Stop:                             Stop: 
                                

Mar Puts: 34 (QQQ-OH)             Mar Puts: 98 (DJV-OS) 
Long: BREAK BELOW open            Long: BREAK BELOW open
Stop: Break Above                 Stop: Break above 


=====


         OEX                         SPX
Mar Calls: 570 (OEB-CN)           Mar Calls: 1125 (SPT-CE)
Long: BREAK ABOVE none            Long: BREAK ABOVE none 
Stop:                             Stop: 


Mar Puts: 550 (OEB-OJ)            Mar Puts: 1075 (SPQ-OO)
Long: BREAK BELOW open            Long: BREAK BELOW open
Stop: Break Above                 Stop: Break Above 



Open Plays:
----------
Long: BREAK BELOW 34.85           Long: BREAK BELOW 99.00
Stop: Break Above 34.00           Stop: Break above 99.00

Mar Puts: 550 (OEB-OJ)            Mar Puts: 1075 (SPQ-OO)
Long: BREAK BELOW 557.00          Long: BREAK BELOW 1096.00
Stop: Break Above 551.00          Stop: Break Above 1185.00


IS Position Trade Model: Thursday 2/21/2002
Selling The Rally?

News & Notes:
------------
From last night's commentary, "Traders who feel compelled to enter 
something will probably fare best looking for overbought charts 
and shorting any initial signs of a failed rally ahead." 

Those were hardly prophetic words as all signs pointed toward a 
near-term market decline last night. Looks to continue ahead into 
the weekend as well.


Featured Plays:
--------------
None


Summation:
---------
Long-term chart signals were mixed to bearish across the board and 
became even more so after today. Traders can play the short side 
on most any index or sector that rallies & fails near resistance, 
but we will pass on new entries tracked until the weekend. 
Volatility is likely to reign on Friday and many charts are 
nearing oversold extremes. Expect choppy action for awhile.


Trade Management:
----------------
Option traders may choose listed In-The-Money (ITM) or Out-The-
Money (OTM) contracts by personal preference. They are selected 
based on volume, open interest and "Delta" values in that order. 
Position Trade model usually tracks OTM contracts with several 
weeks of time premium left until expiration for buy & hold plays.

Entry triggers are points where plays are tracked when price 
action breaks above for calls or below for puts. Stops are the 
exact opposite of that. 

*No entry targets listed means the model is idle at this time.


New Play Targets:
----------------
None


Open Plays:
----------
PPH                            OIH
March Calls: 95 (PPH-CS)       March Calls: 60 (OIH-CL)
Long: BREAK ABOVE 95.00        Long: BREAK ABOVE 56.75
Entry: 2.20                    Entry: 1.50
Stop:  2.20 [hit]              Stop:  1.50 [hit]


Sector Share Trade Model: Thursday 2/21/2002
That Didn't Last!

News & Notes:
------------
So much for the savage short-squeeze rally on Wednesday. Traders 
who thought it would hold & grow from there are sorely 
disappointed. 


Featured Plays:
--------------
None


Summation:
---------
This environment is easy to pick a few plays and scalp a point or 
two out of them, and better for the intraday player. However, 
enter & hold attempts right now are futile at best and probably 
going to get worse with volatile chop. No new entries planned to 
track at this time.


Trade Management:
----------------
Entry triggers are points where plays are tracked when price 
action breaks above for calls or below for puts. Stops are the 
exact opposite of that. Sell targets are points to exit based on 
index levels or %gain on share price as noted.

No entry targets listed mean the model is idle at that time.

* Asterisk means stop-loss level changed since prior posting


New Play Targets:
----------------
None


Open Short Plays:
----------------
None


Open Long Plays:
---------------
None


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**********
DISCLAIMER
**********

Please read our disclaimer at:
http://www.OptionInvestor.com/page/oin/aboutus/disclaimer.html


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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 02-21-2002
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        2 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


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

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


CALLS:
*****

UPS $56.80 -0.04 (-0.20) UPS is only down $0.20 for the week,
which is good considering the drops in the broader averages.
Although the stock is not going down, it's not going up either.
Instead of watching time premium decay, we're dropping coverage
this evening in favor of plays with more potential to move.
Look to exit on intraday strength early tomorrow.

ASYT $15.58 -0.74 (-1.72) The weakness in the SOX.X finally
caught up with ASYT when the stock broke down late Thursday.
The SOX finished lower by 6.67%, while ASYT dropped by 4.53%.
The stock is still relatively stronger, but its group is
not.  As such, we're dropping coverage based on the violation
of our coverage stop.

IMCL $16.77 -1.12 (-1.67) Broken from the opening bell on
Wednesday, shares of IMCL haven't been able to gain any traction
in a weak market, giving up more than 13% in just the past 2
days.  It hasn't helped that the Biotech sector (BTK.X) failed
to build on its gains from yesterday and headed south today, but
IMCL has also performed significantly worse than the BTK.  This
is clearly a broken play, and despite the fact that our stop
hasn't been violated, we're pulling the plug tonight, lest
anyone be tempted to game a bottom in the stock when the
underlying sector is failing to advance.


PUTS:
*****

None


***********************************************************
DAILY RESULTS
***********************************************************

Please view this in COURIER 10 font for alignment
*************************************************

CALLS              Tue    Wed    Thu

UPS      56.80   -0.28   0.12  -0.04  Dropped, not moving enough
ASYT     15.58   -1.03   0.05  -0.74  Dropped, pressured by SOX.X
ESRX     53.82    0.54   0.80   0.77  A rare display of strength
SII      60.53    0.10  -0.86   3.41  Almost 6%, not too bad
APA      51.40   -0.63  -0.48   1.48  Slowly and steadily higher
SPW     123.16   -0.87   2.01  -0.10  Needs the market to firm
IMCL     16.77    0.87  -1.42  -1.12  Dropped, loss of strength
TDW      36.76   -0.25  -0.18   1.04  New, trending higher


PUTS

TLAB     10.88   -0.88   0.14  -0.41  Poor group, weaker stock
KSS      65.82   -0.80  -0.37  -1.51  Losing relative strength
CHKP     27.48   -0.90   0.00  -1.37  New relative low, exit pt?
GNSS     39.27   -4.51   2.58  -3.56  Closed below its 200-dma
SFA      22.35   -0.52   0.90  -0.13  Next in line to breakdown
GS       79.47   -4.31   2.15  -1.13  Spectacular rollover
VRTS     32.69   -2.48   0.29  -1.76  New, break from consolidation
QCOM     32.50   -0.08  -1.41  -3.41  New, closed on its day low


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

SII $60.53 +3.41 (+2.65) SII powered higher in today's
session on unusually high volume.  Its strength was primarily
sector-related as the Oil Service Index (OSX.X) finished with
a 3.91% gain.  We're obviously pleased with the out performance
on the part of SII and its 5.96% gain.  We're in the right
stock in the group judging by its relative strength Thursday.
In terms of execution, it's paramount that traders find
favorable entries into this play.  We'd like to take entries
on pullbacks to support, but that's not to say the more
aggressive readers can't enter on breakouts such as the one
observed today.  Just know that the risk is entering on a
breakout is slightly higher than entries on pullbacks.  The
10-dma is a good spot to look for a pullback.  Those already
in the play might look to book short-term gains into
tomorrow's session on any follow-through.

APA $51.40 +1.48 (+0.37) APA staged a nice rebound in today's
session after yesterday's pullback down into the range
between its 10-dma and 200-dma.  Volume also picked up in
today's trading, which was encouraging to witness.  The stock
has some slight overhead congestion just above current levels.
An advance past $52 would signal a breakout above that
congestion.  Whether or not you take an entry on such a
breakout is dependent on your trading style and risk tolerance.
A breakout could lead to a continuation up to the $54 level
for a good $2 move.  Make sure to watch the broader energy
group when attempting to trade a breakout in APA.  Watch
the OSX.X, OIX.X, and XNG.X for insights into the group's
sentiment.  You'll obviously want to see strength across the
board when gaming a breakout.  In terms of an entry on a
pullback, watch for weakness down around the converged moving
averages near the $50 level.

SPW $123.16 -0.10 (+1.14) SPW wants to trade higher judging by
Thursday's early intraday rally attempt.  If only the broader
market would cooperate.  This stock remains closely linked to
the price action in the broader averages, especially the
S&P 500 (SPX.X).  The stock needs at the very least stabilization
in the SPX.X if it's going to trade higher.  Also worth noting
is the daily overbought condition of stochastics.  That much
may cap any upside move from current levels.  With the averages
looking weak going into Thursday's close, the better strategy
might be to wait for SPW to come back down into a support
zone when looking for an entry point.  Traders might look for
the stock to come back down into the $120 support zone before
trying to gain new entries into the play.

ESRX $53.82 +0.77 (+2.11) Tuesday's early dip proved to be a
real gift, as shares of ESRX fell briefly below $51 before
beginning to trek higher once again.  The stock is clearly
continuing to benefit from the relative strength of the Health
Care sector (HMO.X), as the sector rebounded from strong support
yesterday and continued upwards today, helping our play to post
a new 4-month closing high.  The bulls tried to push through the
$54 resistance level, but given the broad market afternoon
meltdown, had to settle for a small gain on the day.  Since
Tuesday's morning lows, ESRX has posted a series of higher lows
and higher highs, pointing out that the dips are definitely
buyable.  Consider new entries on another bounce from intraday
support between $52.50-53.00 and raise stops to $51.75.


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

TDW - Tidewater $36.76 +1.04 (+0.61 this week)

Tidewater, Inc. provides services and equipment to the offshore
energy industry through the operation of the world's largest
fleet of offshore marine service vessels. The Company is one of
the world's largest provider of offshore supply vessels and
marine support services serving the energy industry.

Moving in the face of cautious comments from Wall Street's
sell side, oil and oil service shares continued higher in
Thursday's session.  The price of crude oil continues to creep
higher on talk of military action in the Middle East.  A Japan
paper reported Thursday that U.S. troops were moving into
Iraq.  While the report was dismissed as rumor, it helped to
push energy shares higher after a report released late
Wednesday night sparked interest in the group.  The latest
inventory figures revealed a surprise drop in crude stock.
The American Petroleum Institute reported late Wednesday
that crude inventories fell by about 4.5 million barrels
during the most recent reporting period.  The news spilled over
into Thursday's trading in oil as the commodity rose by $0.49.
The combined catalysts have helped some of the stronger oil
service names to a breakout recently.  TDW is one such stock
that recently cleared its 200-dma and has been trading higher
since.  Volume remains relatively active in the wake of higher
prices which supports the bullish sentiment in the group.
Traders looking to get in on bullish momentum can watch for
continued strength in the Oil Service Index (OSX.X) early
tomorrow and watch for TDW to advance past the $37 level which
should set up a rally to the $39 mark over the coming week.  A
pullback down to support, on lighter volume, to the $35 area
might offer an entry with a tighter stop.  Our coverage stop is
initially in place at the 200-dma at $34.50.

BUY CALL MAR-35*TDW-CG OI=9206 at $2.70 SL=1.25 
BUY CALL APR-35 TDW-DG OI=1549 at $3.60 SL=2.00 
BUY CALL APR-40 TDW-DH OI=1233 at $1.25 SL=0.75 
BUY CALL JUL-40 TDW-GH OI= 701 at $2.55 SL=1.25 

Average Daily Volume = 730 K



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

TLAB $10.88 -0.41 (-1.15) TLAB's slight bounce in yesterday's
session was less than we had hoped for.  The reason is that it
really didn't allow for a favorable entry into new put plays.
We would've liked to of seen more upside in order to remove
the risk in entering new put plays.  Other than trading the
inside day that was traced Wednesday, it may have been difficult
to gain a favorable entry point into new put plays in
Thursday's session.  Acute execution is a necessity when trading
a low priced stock such as TLAB.  The best readers can hope for
that haven't yet found an entry is a sharp short covering rally
that takes some of the upside risk out of this stock.  For
those holding open positions, TLAB's decline Thursday was most
welcome.  The stock bounced from the $10.50 mark, which will be
the reference for support going forward.  Our downside target
is still down around September's lows.  Book gains on further
weakness based on entry point and risk tolerance.

KSS $65.82 -1.51 (-2.78) KSS has lost almost $3 this week,
making it a quiet but successful play.  It traded poorly early
this morning relative to its sector and the broader market.
And once the selling picked up across the market, KSS' downside
move expanded.  The stock closed below the $66 level, which was
a positive development for the bears already in this play.  We're
still looking for a move down to the low $60s over the shorter
term, but much of the downside potential in this stock is tied
to the action in the Retail Sector Index (RLX.X) which continues
to hold up relatively well against the broader market.  For its
part, KSS lost some relative strength versus the RLX in today's
session, which bodes well for more downside on sector weakness.
Those already in the play at higher entries might look for a
trade down to $65 to book short-term gains on full or partial
positions.  As for new entries, we'd like to take puts on a
rollover from the 50-dma at $68.

CHKP $27.48 –1.37 (-2.32) Under continued selling pressure from
the Software sector's (GSO.X) weakness, CHKP continues to work
lower on a daily basis.  After dropping below the 62%
retracement near $31 last Friday, the stock continues to post
lower highs and lower lows and appears destined to test the $26
level and perhaps head even lower.  In fact, the PnF chart is
pointing towards a bearish target of $18, which would mean a
violation of the September lows.  CHKP is down nearly 14% over
the past 5 sessions, so an oversold bounce in the near term
would be expected.  Look to initiate new positions on a failed
rally near $29 or possibly as high as $30, the new location of
our stop.

GNSS $39.27 -3.56 (-5.49) Semiconductor stocks have been getting
mauled by the bears over the past week, and they punctuated that
point on Thursday by handing the Semiconductor index (SOX.X) a
6.67% decline, bringing the SOX perilously close to the $500
support level.  Our GNSS play has been feeling the selling
pressure too, falling under the 200-dma on each of the past 3
days, and closing solidly below the critical $40 level today.
Underscoring the severity of the selling is the fact that volume
is running close to double the ADV.  It looks like the next major
level of support will be found near $36 (resistance from last
summer and fall).  While a decline under Thursday's lows ($39.25)
can be used for initiating new positions, the recent pattern
shows that waiting for an oversold bounce to sell into will
provide better entry points.  The $43 level is shaping up as
significant resistance, so we feel comfortable lowering our stop
to $43.50 tonight.  Target fresh entries on a failed rally below
this level, as the bears set their sights on the $36 level
near-term and eventually $25, the bearish target from the PnF
chart.

GS $79.47 -1.13 (-3.29) As evidence of the weak condition of the
overall markets, the Broker/Dealer index (XBD.X) has fallen and
can't get up.  Under continuing concerns of accounting issues
and the degree of exposure many of these stocks have to both the
Enron meltdown and other similar disasters waiting in the wings,
the XBD has fallen below the critical $465 level and appears
destined to head lower over the near term.  Our GS play is
performing beautifully for us as each rally attempt is being
sold vigorously, making each failed rally a fresh entry point.
Thursday's action is a perfect example, as the stock failed to
follow through on the morning strength, selling off sharply
throughout the afternoon, coming to rest just above the day's
lows.  The $82.50 level is starting to shape up as serious
resistance, and bounces near that level should continue to make
for attractive entry opportunities as GS rolls over.  At the same
time, the stock has been finding support near $78, so we'll want
to be on the lookout for bounces near that level.  And just
below, we have strong support near $76.  So while entering on a
breakdown below $78 may be profitable, momentum traders will
really want to see the $76 level give way before adding new
positions.

SFA $22.35 -0.13 (+0.25) Although SFA went along for the ride as
the broad markets rallied off their lows on Wednesday, when that
party ended this afternoon, the stock reverted to its bearish
ways.  SFA hasn't been able to make any bullish headway over the
past 3 weeks, as the stock continues to drift lower, and the
selling pressure can be seen in the intraday chart from Thursday
as the bears wiped out 2 days worth of gains in one short hour.
As with many weak technology stocks, the winning strategy is to
sell into each rally and when SFA rolled over this afternoon
without even testing the $23 resistance level, it provided
another attractive entry opportunity.  Failed rallies near
resistance at $23 or even up at $24 should continue to provide
solid entry points as we anticipate the stock falling back into
the teens.  A drop below $21.50 is tradable as well, but we'll
need to look out for an oversold bounce from the $20.50 level,
the site of the late December lows.  Momentum traders will want
to wait for this support level to be broken before initiating
new positions.  


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

QCOM – Qualcomm, Inc. $32.50 -3.41 (-4.90 this week)

Based on its proprietary CDMA technology, QCOM is engaged in
developing and delivering digital wireless communications
services.  The company's business areas include integrated
CDMA chipsets and system software and technology licensing.
QCOM owns patents that are essential to all of the CDMA
wireless telecommunications standards that have been adopted
or proposed for adoption by the worldwide standards-setting
bodies.  Currently, QCOM has licensed its CDMA patent portfolio
to more than 80 telecommunications equipment manufacturers
around the world.

There seems to be no end to the woes of the Wireless sector, and
the depth of those problems is clearly seen in the daily chart
of the Wireless Telecom index (YLS.X).  The YLS broke to new
all-time lows earlier this week and has continued to deteriorate
throughout the week.  Now more than 30% below where it began the
year, the index is continuing to reel under the weakness of the
broader Telecom sector due to debt concerns, fears of slowing
subscriber growth and the nagging accounting issue that is
plaguing just about any stock that still dabbles in the world
of pro-forma accounting.  Meeting earnings estimates a few weeks
ago wasn't enough to prop up shares of CDMA developer QCOM, which
have been in a persistent decline since early December when the
stock was trading near $62.  The stock is now trading for just
over half that value and based on the extremely heavy selling
volume this week (nearly double the ADV on Thursday), it doesn't
look like the pain is likely to end any time soon.  The stock has
already exceeded its bearish PnF target of $37, and with the
break of support at $35, is on a fresh descending triple bottom
sell signal.  We have to go back to June of 1999 to find where the
stock last traded near this level.  While QCOM has continued to
find resistance at the declining 20-dma, that indicator is clear
up above $40, a level unlikely to be tested in the near term.
This is a momentum-type breakdown, based on the heavy selling
volume, so we need to take a shorter-term view to find near-term
action points.  Looking at an intraday chart, we can see the
descending trendline that has been building for the past week is
currently resting near $35, which just happens to be a recent
level of support, now broken.  As long as selling volume remains
heavy, we can take advantage of the momentum, entering new
positions as QCOM breaks below the $32.50 level.  Traders that
are willing to exercise a bit more patience will want to wait for
a failed oversold bounce to roll over in the vicinity of
$34.50-35.00 before initiating new positions.  We want to allow
for a near-term oversold bounce, so we are initiating the play
with our stop set at $37.

BUY PUT MAR-35 AAW-OG OI=10399 at $4.20 SL=2.50
BUY PUT MAR-30*AAW-OF OI= 4636 at $1.70 SL=0.75

Average Daily Volume = 13.8 mln


VRTS – Veritas Software $32.69 -1.76 (-3.95 this week)

As an independent supplier of storage management software,
VRTS develops and sells products that protect against data
loss and file corruption, allowing rapid recovery after disk
or computer system failure.  The company's products provide
continuous data availability in clustered computer systems with
shared resources. This enables IT managers to work efficiently
with large file systems, making it possible to manage data
distributed on large computer network systems without harming
productivity or interrupting users.  VRTS provides products for
most popular operating systems, including UNIX and Windows NT,
as well as a full range of services to assist its customers in
planning and implementing their storage management solutions.

With storage stocks like EMC threatening to take out their
September lows and the Software sector (GSO.X) breaking one
support level after another, it is no wonder that another
Software stock (with a Storage theme) is finding its way onto
our put list tonight.  The GSO has really had a rough week,
declining more than 12% in the past 4 days and now resting
precariously on the $152 support level, with odds favoring a
test of stronger support near $140 sooner, rather than later.
As bad as that sounds, shares of VRTS have actually been
performing worse than the GSO index, giving up relative strength
on a daily basis.  It looked like the 50% retracement of the fall
rally ($34.50) might be able to provide some support, since that
is also a level of some historical support.  But the weakness in
the GSO was too much for the bulls as the stock crashed through
that level this week and it appears the next stop will be the
62% retracement near $31.  The only thing in the stock's favor
is the fact that the selling volume is still running slightly
under the ADV (indicating a lack of panic) and the fact that the
daily Stochastics are now entering oversold territory.  But given
the current mood in the Technology arena, any near-term bounce is
likely to be the precursor to the next bearish entry point.  Use
a failed rally near the $34.50-35.00 level to initiate new
positions, setting stops just above recent failed support at
$36.  Given the strong support near $31, we would be very
cautious about trading a breakdown below current levels unless
it is accompanied by heavier selling volume.

BUY PUT MAR-35 VVI-OG OI=11532 at $4.60 SL=2.75
BUY PUT MAR-30*VVI-OF OI= 2344 at $1.60 SL=0.75

Average Daily Volume = 11.9 mln



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* 8 different FREE options pricing, strategy, and charting tools
* Real-Time Buying Power, Account Balances or Cancels
* EASY screens for spreads, collars, covered calls or 
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Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: 
http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm
**************************************************************


**********
DISCLAIMER
**********

Please read our disclaimer at:
http://www.OptionInvestor.com/page/oin/aboutus/disclaimer.html


**************************************************************
ADVERTISING INFORMATION

For more information on advertising in OptionInvestor Newsletter,
or any Premier Investor Network newsletter please contact:

Contact Support

The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 02-21-2002
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        3 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


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

APA - Apache $51.40 +1.48 (+0.37 this week)

Apache Corporation is an energy company that explores for,
develops and produces natural gas, crude oil and natural gas
liquids. In North America, Apache's exploration and production
interests are focused on the Gulf of Mexico, the Anadarko Basin,
the Permian Basin, the Gulf Coast and the Western Sedimentary
Basin of Canada. Outside of North America, Apache has exploration
and production interests offshore Western Australia and in Egypt,
and exploration interests in Poland and offshore The People's
Republic of China. 

Most Recent Update

APA staged a nice rebound in today's session after yesterday's
pullback down into the range between its 10-dma and 200-dma.
Volume also picked up in today's trading, which was encouraging
to witness.  The stock has some slight overhead congestion just
above current levels.  An advance past $52 would signal a
breakout above that congestion.  Whether or not you take an entry
on such a breakout is dependent on your trading style and risk
tolerance.  A breakout could lead to a continuation up to the $54
level for a good $2 move.  Make sure to watch the broader energy
group when attempting to trade a breakout in APA.  Watch
the OSX.X, OIX.X, and XNG.X for insights into the group's
sentiment.  You'll obviously want to see strength across the
board when gaming a breakout.  In terms of an entry on a
pullback, watch for weakness down around the converged moving
averages near the $50 level.

Comments

The Oil Service (OSX.X) continues to gain traction versus the
market.  With tensions rising in the Middle East, a move in
the price of oil could be forthcoming.  Such a rally would
carry the energy shares higher.  Watch for APA to breakout
from its congestion with an advance past $52.  That could cause
some short covering to come in as well as new longs.

BUY CALL MAR-50*APA-CJ OI=1175 at $2.80 SL=1.75 
BUY CALL MAR-55 APA-CK OI= 376 at $0.60 SL=0.25 
BUY CALL APR-50 APA-DJ OI=3521 at $3.80 SL=2.25 
BUY CALL APR-55 APA-DK OI=1861 at $1.55 SL=0.75 

Average Daily Volume = 1.14 mln



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Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: 
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**************************************************************


************
MARKET WATCH
************

Bears beware.  A squeeze is around the corner in tonight's two new 
watch list plays.


To Read The Rest of The OptionInvestor.com Market Watch Click Here
http://members.OptionInvestor.com/watchlist/022102.asp


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

Tech’s tumble past support.  Industrials roll past resistance.


To Read The Rest of The OptionInvestor.com Market Posture Click Here
http://www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture/022102_1.asp


**********
DISCLAIMER
**********

Please read our disclaimer at:
http://www.OptionInvestor.com/page/oin/aboutus/disclaimer.html


**************************************************************
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DISCLAIMER

Option Investor Inc is neither a registered Investment Advisor nor a Broker/Dealer. Readers are advised that all information is issued solely for informational purposes and is not to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor is it to be construed as a recommendation to buy, hold or sell (short or otherwise) any security. All opinions, analyses and information included herein are based on sources believed to be reliable and written in good faith, but no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, is made including but not limited to any representation or warranty concerning accuracy, completeness, correctness, timeliness or appropriateness. In addition, we do not necessarily update such opinions, analysis or information. Owners, employees and writers may have long or short positions in the securities that are discussed.

Readers are urged to consult with their own independent financial advisors with respect to any investment. All information contained in this report and website should be independently verified.

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