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Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 03/05/2002

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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Tuesday 03-05-2002
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)
************************************************************      
      03-05-2002           High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10433.41 -153.41 10596.09 10425.05 1.53 bln   1586/1544
NASDAQ   1866.30 +  6.98  1886.15  1849.75 2.04 bln   1900/1689
S&P 100   581.95 -  4.57   588.64   581.40   Totals   3486/3233
S&P 500  1146.14 -  7.70  1157.74  1144.78             
RUS 2000  487.59 -  0.41   490.95   486.08
DJ TRANS 2980.60 - 69.36  3050.30  2979.63
VIX        21.81 -  0.27    23.02    21.46
VXN        42.28 +  1.49    42.81    40.76
TRIN        1.33 
PUT/CALL    0.71
************************************************************ 

March Winds Whipping the Markets?

After a +500 point two day gain for the Dow it was only reasonable
to expect a pullback on profit taking. The Dow obliged with a -153
point drop which equates to a retracement of about -30%. Ironically
the Nasdaq, which has been an anchor for the broader market, posted
a gain of nearly +7 points on several strong sectors including chips.
Intel helped power the Nasdaq gains after being upgraded by Morgan
Stanley to a "strong buy" based on improving economic conditions.



 



 

The retail sector was hit at the open as CSFB downgraded a handful
on concerns that their valuations had reached lofty levels. Those
downgraded included ANF, FDO, FTS, JCP, KR, BBBY and ZLC. The UBS
Warburg chain store sales index dropped -0.8% for the week that
ended on March 2nd compared to the prior week. It was the biggest
drop since Dec-1st. The monthly sales figures are due out on 
Thursday from retailers and are expected to show an increase of
about 5% but some analysts are worried that the trend will slow.
Costco dropped nearly -$2.00 despite reporting results that were
inline with First Call estimates. Dillards however rose to $21
after reporting a +55% increase in earnings to $1.21 per share. 
This beat estimates of $.79 and the CFO said it was due to tight
controls on expenses and strong private label sales. The Gap was
upgraded to a buy at Merrill Lynch which said the troubles were
behind it and changes they had made would reap benefits ahead.

Caterpillar also fell from its 52-week high during regular trading
on profit taking. After the close they announced that sales for 2002 
would be flat but earnings would be up slightly. CAT had previously
announced on Jan-23rd that earnings would rise but did not say
sales would be flat.

After the bell today the institutional research firm ISS recommended
that HWP investors approve the Compaq merger. They said the deal
could be an excellent long-term strategic move for both companies
despite the sizable risk. Since more than 20% of HWP shares are 
already stacked against the deal and only 5% already voting for 
the deal, this was a strong supporting move. Analysts estimate 
that nearly 40% of the outstanding shares are held by institutional
investors or investors that will be influenced by the report. The
deal now has a 50/50 chance of approval according to arbitragers.
The ISS group does research for many funds and provides them a
risk free decision process. Individual investors with shares of 
a fund are not likely to sue the fund for its voting record if they
follow the recommendations of ISS which are seen to be impartial
although they normally lean toward management suggestions. CPQ rose
in after hours and HWP fell slightly as the chances of the deal
completing got better.

Amazon CFO, Warren Jenson, announced he would resign later this
year after assisting Amazon in finding his replacement. He has 
been with Amazon since 1999. The stock has been rising steadily
since mid-Feb but saw some profit taking on this news.

In a tale of two stocks MCDT said that it now sees a loss of
two to four cents where analysts had expected a two cent profit.
The warning came only one day after the company asked a court
to grant an injunction against Brocade to stop using technology
at the center of a patent lawsuit. MCDT dropped -2.20 for the day.
SNDK however gained +2.39 after Morgan Stanley raised its rating
to outperform and set a price target of $30. The analyst said the
quarter was shaping up better than expected. SNDK closed at $18.33.

In the first shot in a possible new war, a trade war, Bush imposed
tariffs on imported steel of as much as 30%. The industry has been
crippled by a flood of imports and producers wanted a 40% tariff
to slow the dumping. Import dumping is blamed for 31 bankruptcies
in the steel sector since 1977. The plan will run for three years
and could be cancelled early if conditions improve. Some countries
are already warning that they may retaliate by raising tariffs on
U.S. products coming into their countries or their non-steel products 
being exported into the U.S. 

That is not the only war the markets focused on today. In Israel
the fighting is heading for all out war with dozens of fatalities
on both sides. In Afghanistan the resistance to American ground
troops has intensified and some of the heaviest fighting in the
war is underway. Previously the attacks were done remotely with
smart bombs and rockets. Now the ground war has intensified with
U.S. troops attacking and being attacked by large numbers of Al
Queda. The fatalities over the weekend were the most since the
war began and with more troops in harms way it could get worse.

The war worries along with sizeable profits from the three-day
rally competed with more positive economic data from the ISM Non-
Manufacturing Business Activity Index. The index increased +9.1%
in February to 58.7% and was much higher than expected. This was
almost a 10 point jump from the 49.6 number in January and indicates
that the services side of the economy is expanding at a rapid pace.
New orders jumped from 49.4 to 57.3 indicating that future business
activity should rise. This is just more concrete evidence of the
recovery in progress. This index however is not as reliable as
the manufacturing index but does act as confirmation. 

The markets should have seen the ISM numbers as rally confirmation
but after a +500 point gain and wars on three fronts mixed with
a flood of downgrades this was a day to rest. The Nasdaq was the
highlight and the fact that it held with the Dow crashing could
spark the next move. The MCDT warning after the close could depress
the tech sector slightly on Wednesday but as we saw with Oracle
the news may be taken as company specific and ignored on a broader
scale. What traders may not ignore is the fact that a +500 point
gain may have been too far too fast. We had a nice short covering
rally followed by rising volume as funds put money to work. The
strong volume on Tuesday was deceptive since the advances beat
the decliners on a down day. In this case the high volume was a
plus. 

The negative indicators included the VIX at only 21.81 and the 
equity put/call ratio at .56. Neither is bullish and each bears 
watching. The Dow screeched to a halt exactly at strong resistance 
(10600) from July/August of last year. The Nasdaq also halted its
rise at strong resistance of 1875 from mid-Feb. The S&P stopped
dead at its 200 DMA of 1155 before losing ground. The road signs
are clear from this point. Strong resistance ahead which if broken
could provide an even more explosive upside potential than we saw
recently. The downside possibilities should be limited due to the
continued positive economic news. Of course "limited" may not be
the right word since we are sitting on a +350 point Dow gain. The
markets could easily trade flat to down another day or two before 
charging ahead but I believe up is the general direction for the
next couple of weeks. Once April earnings start flying that is an
entirely different ballgame. As always news events remain the wild
card that makes investing exciting. Keep those stops in place!

Enter very passively, exit aggressively!

Jim Brown
Editor


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

A Day Of Rest
Austin Passamonte

It was a day of rest for the markets, or so we've been widely 
told. Everywhere we turn in the media be it TV or web, pundits are 
calling this the final market turn. Far be it from me to guess 
whether the economy has bottomed, valuations are fair, etc. We'll 
leave that to the fundamentalists instead. Let's use our time & 
space here to see what might go on tomorrow, shall we?

(60/30 Minute Charts: SPX)


 

The SPX and OEX look identical, of course. We begin with weak (at 
best) oscillators telling us further downside is possible. From 
there we have very clear consolidation wedges formed near today's 
highs. That in itself should be biased for a break to the upside 
in continuation out of the same direction this pattern was 
entered.

However, we must respect the fact that critical resistance was 
rapidly reached and held. Daily chart stochastic values are 
topping in overbought extreme and the VIX has fallen below 22.
On the bullish side we have weekly charts in bullish reversal 
fashion and point & figure charts in full bull mode. So, let's 
look for support somewhere below and get long if/when markets 
continue to hold up from there. But short-term players can 
probably take the first break of this pattern with stops just on 
the other side and flip-flop if the pattern break fails and 
reverses course.

(60/30 Minute Charts: QQQ)


 

The QQQ posted bear flags today as it churned somewhat higher for 
the session. Chart signals are mixed & ugly... might not 
straighten out much until Friday after SUNW & INTC give us their 
quarterly reports in techland.

(60/30 Minute Charts: Dow)


 

The Dow gave back 1/3 previous two day's move in consolidation as 
well. Chart signals are bottomed within oversold extreme and 
should pop higher next. These chart patterns are clearly bullish 
wedges and portend an upside break as well.

Confused?
So let me get this straight: the QQQ is weak to bearish, Dow 
bullish and S&P indexes neutral? Yep, sure appears that way. For a 
different look on the topic we have these same charts with price 
channels drawn in tonight (and every night) over at Swing Trade 
Gameplan section. I expect to play the breaks in these patterns 
and pivot points depicted in Swing Trade Gameplan with light 
amounts of capital on Wednesday. Look for Friday to be a very 
active day for the markets with probable chop in the next day or 
two ahead.

The bias is up, the trend remains up but indexes blew to new 
heights at warp speed out of nowhere. We've seen this behavior 
before several times a year for 24 straight months now and I have 
no fundamental reason to believe this one is any different from 
the rest.

Don't Fall In Love With Either Direction!


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

NDX Makes It Three
By Eric Utley

The Nasdaq-100 Bullish Percent ($BPNDX) reversed into bull market
territory in Monday's session.  Its reversal, to the tune of 
a 23 percent net gain, was one of the largest one-day gains in
recent history.

The NDX's reversal into Bull Confirmed brings the three
major averages all into bull market territory.  Recall that the
Dow Jones Industrial Average ($BPINDU) was the first of the
three to turn into Bull Confirmed mode in February, followed
by the S&P 500 ($BPSPX) returning to Bull Confirmed a short
while after.

We must make it clear that even though Sentiment has adopted
a bullish stance on the NDX names that it doesn't mean the
stock will go straight higher from here.  The Semiconductor
Sector (SOX.X), for instance, is higher by about 100 points in
the last three days.  In other words, it's extended over the
short-term and due for some consolidation, however brief.

The shorts are on the run in the technology sector of the
market and the bulls are growing stronger, signaled by that
massive reversal in the $BPNDX Monday.  There are warning
signs, however, as is usually the case.

For starters, although the bullish percent readings are in
Bull Confirmed territory, they are at or near historical highs
of bullishness.  Moreover, the bears will be quick to point out
the lack of fear in the market as revealed by the further drop
in the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX.X) Tuesday.  Those
two variables may, however, serve as the bricks for the wall of
worry.

Correction

The mistake in the Nasdaq-100 small trader COT data over the
weekend has been corrected.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

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

Market Averages


DJIA ($INDU)

52-week High: 11350
52-week Low :  8062
Current     : 10433

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 10163
 50-dma:  9963
200-dma: 10030



S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1383
52-week Low :  945
Current     : 1146

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1138
 50-dma: 1120
200-dma: 1170



Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 2771
52-week Low : 1089
Current     : 1499

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1409
 50-dma: 1524
200-dma: 1572



Semiconductor ($SOX)

The SOX topped the day's sector movers again in Tuesday's
session with its 2.16 percent gain.  The index is about 100
points higher in the last three sessions.

Leaders in the group Tuesday included Motorola (NYSE:MOT),
Linear Tech (NASDAQ:LLTC), Analog Devices (NYSE:ADI), Advanced
Micro (NYSE:AMD), and Altera (NASDAQ:ALTR).

52-week High: 711
52-week Low : 344
Current     : 614

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 545
 50-dma: 545
200-dma: 546


Retail ($RLX)

The RLX was the worst performing sector of the day, losing 3.32
percent.  Mixed sales data and downgrades pressured stocks in
the group.

Exceptionally weak components included Bed Bath & Beyond
(NASDAQ:BBBY), Federated (NYSE:FD), Limited (NYSE:LTD), Home
Depot (NYSE:HD), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS).

52-week High: 968
52-week Low : 671
Current     : 928 

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 948
 50-dma: 928
200-dma: 876

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

Market Volatility

The VIX closed below 22 for the first time since January 28.
The fear gauge dropped in spite of the weakness in the Dow
Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) and, more specifically, the
sell-off in the S&P 100 (OEX.X).

The VXN went higher in spite of the relative out performance
of the Nasdaq-100 (NDX.X), which ended fractionally higher.

CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) - 21.81 -0.27
Nasdaq-100 Volatility Index  (VXN) - 42.28 +1.49

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

          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume
Total          0.71        710,969       507,515
Equity Only    0.57        606,634       344,488
OEX            1.54         16,081        24,842
QQQ            0.72         44,036        31,514
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          59      + 1     Bull Alert
NASDAQ-100    63      + 6     Bull Confirmed
DOW           73      + 3     Bull Confirmed
S&P 500       71      + 3     Bull Confirmed
S&P 100       76      + 2     Bull Confirmed

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  0.99
10-Day Arms Index  1.02
21-Day Arms Index  1.22
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      1586           1544
NASDAQ    1900           1689

        New Highs      New Lows
NYSE      230             15
NASDAQ    152             31

        Volume (in millions)
NYSE     1,539
NASDAQ   2,046

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

Commitments Of Traders Report: 02/26/02

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

S&P commercials were wrong in the most recent reporting
period.  The group increased its net position through February
26.  They may have scrambled to cover in last Friday's
session, helping the market higher.  Small traders got it
right by adding almost 10,000 contracts to their net bullish
position.  Interestingly, just the opposite occurred in the
Dow as you'll read below.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI 
02/12/02      355,276   412,868   (57,592)   (7.5%)
02/19/02      355,905   416,664   (60,759)   (7.9%)
02/26/02      366,258   432,258   (66,000)   (8.3%)

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
02/12/02      126,730     59,902   66,828     35.8%
02/19/02      130,856     63,311   67,545     34.8%
02/26/02      139,183     62,087   77,096     38.3%

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

Nasdaq commercials grew increasingly neutral in the most
recent report period by shedding a few more shorts than
longs.  Small traders swung to decidedly bearish by
adding a large number of short positions.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI 
02/12/02       32,712     34,841    (2,129)  (3.2%)
02/19/02       33,871     35,690    (1,819)  (2.6%)
02/26/02       33,589     34,091      (502)  (0.7%)

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
02/12/02        9,009     7,415     1,594      9.7% 
02/19/02        9,966     8,073     1,893     10.5%
02/26/02        9,517    11,416    (1,899)    (9.1%)

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 traders grew more bullish in the most recent
reporting period.  Although the group added a number of
short positions, its additions of longs more than
compensated for an increase in the net bullish position.
Small traders were wrong by adding to their net short
position.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
02/12/02       26,811    16,488   10,323     23.8% 
02/19/02       29,606    17,953   11,653     24.5%
02/26/02       33,322    21,110   12,212     22.4%

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
02/12/02        4,562    10,038    (5,476)   (37.5%) 
02/19/02        4,654    10,431    (5,777)   (38.3%)
02/26/02        6,333    12,547    (6,214)   (32.9%)

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: Tuesday 3/05/2002
Red-Lining The Pivots 

News & Notes:
------------
Indexes dropped below our put play triggers this morning only to 
promptly spike higher at 10:00am on wild short covering after 
economic data was released. Markets never saw those highs again 
and promptly chopped their way lower into the close. SPX put play 
stops were nicked slightly to take them out but the rest are 
carried forth into Wednesday's fray. What may the future hold?


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


 

This new upward channel is valid and fleshing out nicely. Support 
is currently found at the mid-line but I would expect the red line 
of support to be visited next. If/when that happens, long puts 
should be exited and long calls considered should chart signals be 
within oversold extreme or turning bullish at that point in time. 
577 would be a good place to watch for markets to pivot if the 
rally is for real.

[60/30-Min Chart: SPX]


 

Same goes for the SPX near 1133. I'd exit open puts at 1134 – 1135 
and look for price action to bounce higher from there. We are far 
from the only traders looking at these same measures and prices 
will react if/when these levels are hit.

[60/30-Min Chart: QQQ]


 

NDX/QQQ is relatively stronger than old economy issues right now, 
and may hold higher ground as the other indexes slip a bit 
further. Look for 36 area to come into play and 35.50 zone a firm 
point of support. If those measures break, 34.00 will be reached 
in rapid fashion from there.

Summation:
---------
We have viable targets in place for current put plays and stand a 
good chance of those being reached on Wednesday. The trend is 
still up since the past few days and ascending channels will keep 
us on the right side of this market. A bounce from support demands 
call plays while a bounce from resistance and/or break below 
support are viable put play entries as well. Watch these red lines 
for possible reaction in the market tomorrow.

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: 102 (DJV-CX)  
Long: BREAK ABOVE none            Long: BREAK ABOVE none
Stop: Break Below                 Stop: Break Below 
                                

Mar Puts: 36 (QQQ-OJ)             Mar Puts: 104 (DJV-OZ) 
Long: BREAK BELOW none            Long: BREAK BELOW none
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: Break Below                 Stop: Break Below 


Mar Puts: 580 (OEB-OP)            Mar Puts: 1125 (SPT-OE)
Long: BREAK BELOW none            Long: BREAK BELOW none
Stop: Break Above                 Stop: Break Above 



Open Plays:
----------
QQQ                               DJX 
Mar Puts: 36 (QQQ-OJ)             Mar Puts: 104 (DJV-OZ) 
Long: BREAK BELOW 36.93(gapped)   Long: BREAK BELOW 105.75
Stop: Break Above 38.00           Stop: Break above 105.50

OEX                               SPX
Mar Puts: 580 (OEB-OP)            Mar Puts: 1125 (SPT-OE)
Long: BREAK BELOW 586.00          Long: BREAK BELOW 1149.00
Stop: Break Above 584.00          Stop: Break Above 1157.00 [hit]


IS Position Trade Model: Monday 3/04/2002
Friday's Squeeze = Monday's ??

News & Notes:
------------
We honestly expected a dip in today's action before resumption of 
the higher trend but saw nothing of that kind in charts used here. 
Two days of solid bear-market rally tacked on significant gains to 
long calls for those who may have played them. Bear market rallies 
are impressive and sudden, more driven by fear & short covering 
than methodical accumulation by big-money investors. Charts are 
obviously extended and toppy, with a pullback to support very 
likely from here.


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


Summation:
---------
We'll target April call plays on a successful pullback to support 
but before then should see retracement from critical resistance 
right now to back & fill significant upside covered.


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:
----------
None


Sector Share Trade Model: Tuesday 3/05/2002
Pulled Back

News & Notes:
------------
We tightened stops trailed higher on long plays tracked and a good 
number of them were taken out for gains or par this morning. The 
remaining open plays tracked have tight stops as well. We'll see 
if the bullish euphoria trumpeted across media far & wide carries 
remaining plays higher along with it, or possibly not!


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


Summation:
---------
Remaining open plays have stops trailed tightly with no new 
entries listed tonight.


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:
---------------
IIH             BHH
Long: 4.75      Long: 3.50
Stop: 5.25      Stop: 4.25

HHH             XLE             IYV
Long: 28.00     Long: 26.75     Long: 11.40
Stop: 31.50     Stop: 27.25     Stop: 13.00

BDH             WMH             MKH
Long: 12.75     Long: 45.60     Long: 57.60
Stop: 13.50     Stop: 47.00 **  Stop: 59.60 **
            
OEF             SPY             FFF
Long: 56.65     Long: 111.60    Long: 80.15
Stop: 58.65 **  Stop: 115.00 ** Stop: 82.45 **

IYZ             IYW             IYC
Long: 26.60     Long: 48.10     Long: 55.60
Stop: 26.60     Stop: 50.60 **  Stop: 57.00 **

IYG             IVE             IVW
Long: 87.00     Long: 53.10     Long: 58.10
Stop: 92.00     Stop: 55.50 **  Stop: 59.00

MDY             XLF             XLK
Long: 92.70     Long: 25.25     Long: 21.40
Stop: 96.70 **  Stop: 26.50     Stop: 22.40 **


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The Option Investor Newsletter                  Tuesday 03-05-2002
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:
*****

None


PUTS:
*****

None


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

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

CALLS              Mon    Tue

SII      66.55    2.81  -1.05  Leading the Oil Service pack higher
TDW      40.92    1.53  -0.08  Displaying some relative strength
UTX      73.90    3.05  -0.30  Downgrade induced profit taking  
HON      38.30   -0.20  -1.20  Reversal of trend, profit taking
BA       48.21    1.29  -0.92  Tracking the Dow's trading closely
MMM     120.15    2.69  -2.86  Took out its relative highs Monday
ETN      83.75    2.99  -1.58  Very impressive, strong stock
ACS      51.35    2.03  -0.87  Entry point near the 50-dma
FLIR     57.40    3.98  -1.24  New, bullish momentum mounting
CREE     17.53    1.01   0.72  New, chip recovery underway
BAC      65.05    1.60  -1.35  New, time for financials to fly


PUTS

ENZN     41.20    0.35  -1.92  Under performing, breaking down
LPNT     32.79   -0.26   0.09  Gyrating between $32 and $34
HGSI     21.27    0.92  -0.21  New, rolling bearish biotech bet


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

SII $66.55 -1.05 (+1.76) SII continued leading the Oil Service
Sector (OSX.X) higher in Monday's session.  The stock traded
up to the $67.90 level, setting an eight month high.  Its
strength is unmistakable and the stock should continue to
work higher if the OSX continues advancing.  The rally
yesterday could've offered traders an excellent chance to
exit plays for a profit.  Even after today's pullback, traders
can still look to book gains seeing that we've captured about
$8 in this play through Tuesday's trading.  That's a big move
for a stock like SII and an even bigger move in its options
because of the relatively low levels of implied volatility.
At the very least, we'd look to set tight stops in current
positions to manage against any potential downside risk from
current levels.  A further pullback, however, would offer
those on the sidelines a chance to gain a favorable entry
on weakness.  For those dip buyers waiting in the wings,
look for a light volume retreat down to the support area
located around the $64.75 to $65 levels.  Make sure to
confirm weakness in the OSX before trying to buy the dip.
We don't want to see SII begin to diverge from its sector.  Our
coverage stop on this play has been raised to the $64.25
level, just above the stock's 10-dma.


TDW $40.92 -0.08 (+1.45) TDW continued climbing during Monday's
session, gaining $1.53 on the day.  Its 3.9% gain on the day
marginally outpaced the 3.1% advance in the Oil Service Index
(OSX.X).  Although marginal, we were happy to see TDW gain some
relative strength versus its peer group, which remains
relatively strong as a whole.  The broader market fell more
than the OSX in Tuesday's session, which yet again revealed
the strength in this sector.  For those tracking the OSX,
the index has some slight resistance above current levels
between the 98 and 99 levels.  A breakout from there should
have the sector index testing the 100 mark.  When gaming
entries and exits in TDW, make sure to note what its sector
is doing intraday.  A breakout in the OSX could be used to
enter momentum based plays in TDW at current levels.  Conversely,
a pullback in the OSX could induce some profit taking in TDW,
which could in turn set up entries on weakness.  If the OSX
does weaken in the coming sessions, it's first support level to
watch for a bounce is located between the 94 and 95 levels.
Such a move in the OSX could correspond with TDW pulling back
down into the $38.50 to $40 support area, where traders can
target a rebound entry point.  Make sure that volume is
lighter on the way down, revealing routine profit taking.


UTX $73.90 -3.35 (-0.30) UTX was downgraded by AG Edwards Tuesday
morning based on valuation concerns and the stock's recent run.
That downgrade served as the catalyst for traders to take profits
in the stock after yesterday's rally to new relative highs.  In
climbing more than $3 higher in Monday's session, UTX broke
above its historical congestion dating back to late last
summer around the $75 level.  The breakout above that resistance
zone removed a lot of overhead supply in this stock, meaning that
it could rebound in the coming sessions and quickly return to
relative highs if not up to the $80 mark.  But much of UTX's
price action in the coming sessions will depend upon the direction
of the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU).  We need to see the
INDU continue advancing if UTX is to breakout again.  Those
traders searching for entry points after Tuesday's sell-off can
look for the INDU to firm early tomorrow morning and watch for
UTX to rebound from today's intraday lows down around the $73.00
to $73.50 area.  Confirmation might come on a rebound back above
and advance past the $75 level.  Our stop has been raised on
this play to the $72.75 level to reflect the recent run and
protect against any potential downside in the short-term.  Traders
with open positions might consider using a tighter stop depending
on risk tolerance and entry points.


HON $38.30 -1.20 (-1.49) HON's recent trend of out performance
ended in Monday's session when the stock finished fractionally
lower for the day while the Dow screamed higher.  That trend
continued into Tuesday's session as HON's decline out paced
the pullback in the Dow.  The action in the last two days
has been a natural part of the rally process.  HON is now
in the process of consolidating its recent rally on
relatively lighter volume.  The trading activity over the
past two days has been relatively low, which supports the
notion of profit taking.  The stock could have more downside
as it works off its short-term overbought condition.  For
that potential of short-term downside, traders with open
positions should consider booking profits or raising tight
stops to protect profits if either of those steps haven't
already been taken.  As for new entries, we'd like to see
HON come back down into the $37 area, which is the site of
the stock's 10-dma.  A rebound from there in a positive
Dow could have this stock resuming its upward trend.  Follow
the trading in the Dow closely and make sure to wait for
confirmation from the market before trying to enter on
weakness.  If for whatever reason the Dow breaks down,
we'll look to pick up calls in HON down between the $35 and
$36 levels.


MMM $120.15 -2.86 (-0.17) Monday morning, Lehman Brothers lowered
its earnings estimates for this year and next based upon their
findings of economic weakness around the globe.  The analyst at
Lehman cited the sluggish demand in European and Asian markets.
But the bearish analyst action didn't matter as the stock
powered higher along with the Dow.  During its rally yesterday,
MMM advanced and closed above its recent relative high traced
late last year.  The breakout above $122 was certainly
positive in light of the negative analyst comments.  In
addition, the stock's ability to breakout on relative active
volume may portend a continued advance if the Dow continues
climbing higher.  Today's pullback was normal profit taking
after the big two day rally in the stock, plus the weakness in
the Dow pressured MMM all day long.  After the pullback today,
traders can start targeting bounces from support levels.  The
first site to watch for a rebound from is the $120 support
level, which is the current site of the stock's ascending
trend line that has been in place since the middle of January.
Just make sure that the Dow strengthens before trying to enter
on weakness.  If the Dow continues lower in the coming sessions,
then watch for MMM to trade down into the support zone between
$117 and $118.  Look for the buyers to return on such a pullback
and for volume to accompany any rally attempt.


ETN $83.75 -1.58 (+1.41) Following its positive guidance late last
week, ETN continued higher in Monday's session.  In case you
missed it, the company reaffirmed its financial targets for this
year and raised guidance for next year's earnings.  The
company said it would benefit from restructurings, lower
interest rates and changes in accounting.  The earnings
momentum that the company is enjoying helped fuel the stock's
momentum in Monday's session when ETN finished $2.99 higher,
above its relative resistance levels.  Of course the broad
market rallied helped, but like in recent rallies, ETN out
performed the major averages.  Its relative strength should
continue to carry the stock higher as long as the market
continues to advance.  In terms of resistance, ETN faces
some historical congestion between $86 and $87.  A breakout
above $87 would clear that resistance and could be used as
an entry point by the momentum players.  Those who like to
enter call plays on dips might start looking for short-term
support levels after Tuesday's profit taking-related pullback.
One level to consider a bounce from is at $82, provided the
market cooperates.  If the stock pulls back further than
$82, look for a rebound from between the $80 and $81 levels.
Our stop has been raised to the lower end of that range at
$80.25.

ACS $51.35 -0.87 (+1.16) The much-needed consolidation day
arrived, and as expected, shares of ACS pulled back near the $51
support level by the closing bell on Tuesday.  But here's the
dilemma.  With the stock closing on its low of the day, there
could be more weakness in store, especially if the broad markets
are not finished with their consolidation.  We want to target new
entries on a rebound from the $51 level, or possibly as low as
$50, keeping in mind that our stop is resting just below at
$49.50.  Keep in mind that daily Stochastics are now buried in
overbought territory, so risk is now to the downside.  We only
want to buy the dip if the rebound is accompanied by solid buying
volume.  Traders that want some confirmation before playing will
want to see ACS trade through the $52.75 level before taking a
position.

BA $48.21 -0.92 (+0.37) Profit taking arrives, right on
schedule.  Shares of BA have been soaring higher since the
middle of January, and up until today's session had been up for
the past 8 days.  Today's weakness provided a welcome opportunity
to buy the dip when the stock rebounded in the afternoon near the
$47.50 level in the afternoon session and then headed higher into
the close on expanding volume.  The pullback began right at the
50% retracement of the fall decline, so that is our defined
near-term resistance to deal with.  Consider entering new
positions on renewed bounces near the $47.50 level or else wait
for BA to clear the $49.50 level (Monday's intraday high) before
playing.  We've been ratcheting our stop higher to preserve gains,
so keep your stop in place at $47.50.


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

CREE - Cree Inc. $17.53 +0.72 (+1.73 this week)

Cree, Inc. develops and manufactures compound semiconductor
materials and electronic devices made from commercialize silicon
carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). The Company operates
its business in two segments: the Cree segment, which consists
of its SiC based products; and the UltraRF segment, which
consists of radio frequency (RF) transistors and amplifiers on a
silicon platform. 

The recovery in the chip business appears underway.  The recent
rally in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) seems to
suggest as much.  Several stocks have been beaten up in the
sector over the last two months and may now be ready for a big
rebound.  CREE was under attack by the bears since the beginning
of the year for supposed shady transactions.  The company
extinguished those fears recently with its most recent filings
and in doing so renewed investor confidence.  The company put
its money on the line by stepping up its share repurchase
program, which added confidence and demand to the stock.  That
confidence was seen in the last three sessions as the stock
emerged from its short term consolidation following early
February's climatic sell off.  CREE is now trading above its
immediate resistance levels and has little in the way of
congestion from here to the $20 level.  What's more, the stock
finished today's session on a positive note by closing at its
day high on continued heavy trading volume.  Momentum bulls
can look for CREE to continue climbing into tomorrow's
session if the SOX.X remains positive.  Look for continued
activity in trading volume to push the stock higher.  Under
bullish market conditions, entries can be taken at current
levels as early as tomorrow morning.  If you'd rather wait
for a pullback in this stock, then look for weakness in the
SOX to pressure CREE back down to its short-term support.  A
rebound from between the $16 and $16.50 levels would offer
traders a favorable entry point on weakness.  Our stop is
initially set at the lower-end of that range at $16.

***March contracts expire next week***

BUY CALL MAR-15 CVO-CC OI=1305 at $2.75 SL=1.25 
BUY CALL MAR-17*CVO-CW OI=1249 at $1.00 SL=0.50 
BUY CALL MAR-20 CVO-CD OI= 802 at $0.25 SL=0.00  High Risk! 
BUY CALL APR-17 CVO-DW OI= 268 at $2.05 SL=1.00 

Average Daily Volume = 2.33 mln



BAC – Bank of America Corp. $65.05 -1.35 (+0.25 this week)

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

It is a well-known fact that any meaningful rally in the market
will need the participation of the Financial stocks, and we
certainly have gotten that on this rally, with the S&P Banks
index (BIX.X) vaulting through its January highs near $650 on
Monday.  Helping this move along has been the positive action in
the bond market, with money coming out to help drive stocks
higher.  Shares of BAC put in quite a performance yesterday,
pushing through the $65 resistance level to post a new all-time
high of $66.40.  With the broad-based profit taking that ruled
the day on Tuesday, BAC came back to rest just above that
resistance level at the closing bell, and if this rally is going
to stick, this could be a great opportunity to get onboard before
the next leg higher.  The only point of concern is the fact that
the selling on Tuesday was very heavy (50% above the ADV),
although well below the level seen on Monday's rally.  We're
looking for the stock to come back and find support in the $64-65
area before the bulls reassert control.  With yesterday's rally,
the stock is back on a fresh PnF buy signal, with a price target
of $83.  We certainly won't get there in one continuous move, but
this could be the time to stake out new positions, using a bounce
from the $64-65 level to trigger our entry.  Alternatively,
momentum bulls will want to wait for BAC to push through $66.75
(Monday's high) before playing.  We are initiating the play with
our stop set at $63.  

*** March contracts expire in less than 2 weeks ***

BUY CALL MAR-65 BAC-CM OI=13997 at $1.30 SL=0.75
BUY CALL APR-65*BAC-DM OI= 5948 at $2.75 SL=1.25
BUY CALL APR-70 BAC-DN OI= 6168 at $0.70 SL=0.25
BUY CALL MAY-70 BAC-EN OI=26940 at $1.10 SL=0.50

Average Daily Volume = 5.41 mln


FLIR – FLIR Systems $57.40 -1.24 (+3.04 this week)

FLIR is engaged in the design, manufacture and marketing of
thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems for a wide variety
of commercial, industrial and government applications.  The
company's products are divided into two categories, which
include the thermography products and imaging products.  In the
Thermography division, FLIR manufactures products that are sold
to commercial, industrial, research and machine vision customers.
For industrial customers, FLIR has developed thermography
systems that feature accurate temperature measurement, storage
and analysis.  The Imaging division caters to military, law
enforcement, surveillance and security customers.

The bullish action in Defense stocks, as measured by last week's
breakout in the recently created Defense index (DFI.X), has many
of the stocks in that industry breaking out to new highs.  It is
clear now that the US Government will be spending a lot more
money on the defense budget, and the key to investing success
will be determining where the money is flowing and getting there
first.  FLIR Systems is in the sweet spot of this new rush of
spending, both on the military and civilian security fronts with
their cutting edge imaging technology and products.  Shares of
FLIR rocketed higher following the September attacks, and chasing
the stock higher in such a volatile environment was a tough game.
But since then, the stock has done some healthy consolidation, and
in the past 2 weeks, blasted through resistance to new all time
highs.  In fact, new highs have become a bit of a habit for the
stock, as it seems to be setting a new one on almost a weekly
basis.  FLIR has a nice predictable trading pattern that we can
take advantage of.  It seems to surge higher and then consolidate
the move over 3-5 days, before repeating the performance.
Monday's sharp rally was predictably followed by some
consolidation today, and we would expect another day or two of the
same before the next leg higher.  Note that FLIR has been finding
support at the 10-dma ($54.45) for the past 5 weeks, so a bounce
from that level will likely make for an attractive entry point.
While we would prefer to get an entry in the $54-55 area, with the
market trying to continue its sharp rally, we may have to settle
for a bounce from the $55.50-56.00 level, recent resistance that
should now act as support.  Momentum traders could consider
trading a breakout to new highs (above $58.75), but only if the
bullish action is confirmed by strong volume and positive action
in the DFI index.  We are initiating the play with our coverage
stop set at $53.

*** March contracts expire in less than 2 weeks ***

BUY CALL MAR-55*FFQ-CK OI=214 at $3.50 SL=1.75
BUY CALL MAR-60 FFQ-CL OI= 97 at $1.10 SL=0.50
BUY CALL APR-60 FFQ-DL OI=271 at $3.50 SL=1.75
BUY CALL JUL-60 FFQ-GL OI=355 at $7.10 SL=4.00

Average Daily Volume = 398 K



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

ENZN $41.20 -1.92 (-1.58) Even a strongly positive market
couldn't prop up shares of ENZN on Monday, and as Biotech
weakness resurfaced on Tuesday, the stock continued its slow
downward drift.  We got a great entry into the play on Monday
as the stick spiked up to $45 at the open and then sold off from
there into the closing bell without so much as a hint of a
bounce.  Tuesday's action was a repeat performance, except with
the broad market and the Biotechnology sector (BTK.X) weak at
the open, we didn't get the opening spike to improve our entry.
As we mentioned over the weekend, the chart of ENZN looks
amazingly similar to IVGN just before the stock collapsed on bad
news last week.  While we may not be so fortunate as to get a
repeat on ENZN, there is no arguing with the fact that it is one
of the weaker stocks in an overall weak sector of the market. Use
any sort of failed rally below the $45 level to initiate new
positions, moving stops down to $45.50 tonight.  It was
encouraging to see the stock break down below recent support near
$42 today, so momentum bears can initiate new positions as the
stock falls below the $41 level.

LPNT $32.79 +0.09 (-0.17) It has been a rather unimpressive
beginning to our bearish play on LPNT this week, as the stock has
failed to make any progress either way.  That doesn't mean there
hasn't been some interesting intraday action, with the stock
posting 3 doji candlesticks in a row (normally a sign of
indecision).  Intraday support has been forming near $32, so a
break of that level on solid volume would be one signal to enter
new positions.  Alternatively, entering the play on another
failed rally at the $34 intraday resistance level will give us a
better entry point.  It's hard to read much into the action of
the Health Care index (HMO.X) so far this week, except that it is
weak relative to the rest of the market, gradually working its way
lower in the developing downtrend.  That's another point in favor
of the bears.  With the tightening range over the past few days,
we fell comfortable in snugging up our stop to the $3 level


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

HGSI – Human Genome Sciences $21.27 -0.21 (+0.71 this week)

Possessing one of the largest human and microbial genetic
databases, HGSI licenses its database of knowledge to
pharmaceutical heavyweights like GlaxoSmithKline and Merck.
Management has chosen to forgo the race to decode the entire
human genome, and has instead focused on finding and patenting
genes involved in developing gene-based therapeutics.  Its
four compounds currently in clinical trials are intended to
limit the toxic effects of chemotherapy, promote the repair of
damaged cells, stimulate antibody production, and spur regrowth
of blood vessels.

Once again, the Biotechnology sector (BTK.X) was the weakest
performer in the Technology arena, as investors in this area of
the market just can't seem to get with the bullish party that
has engulfed most of the market over the past few days.  It is
interesting to note that the month of March is historically the
worst month of the year for Biotech stocks, and that seems to be
the case so far this year.  The BTK has managed to hold support
near $475, but sustaining any upward motion has been an exercise
in futility, especially with the continuing stream of negative
pronouncements, the most recent of which came from IVGN.  One of
the weakest performers in the group is our new play, HGSI.  The
stock's relative strength continues to erode and it is just
barely hanging onto support in the $20 area.  As a point of
reference, this is the lowest level seen since late 1999.  HGSI
has been locked in a descending trend (with hardly a pause for
breath) since lat November, and still the stock continues to
grind lower.  Every time the stock approaches the 20-dma (now at
$23.92), it is a signal for the bears to pile on and drive the
stock to new multi-year lows.  We'll go with the flow on this
one, preferably gaining entry on a failed rally in the $23-24
area.  But we'll be willing to play a breakdown as well.  In that
case, look for HGSI to break $19.50 on strong volume before
playing.  We're initiating our play with stops set at $24.50.

*** March contracts expire in less than 2 weeks ***

BUY PUT MAR-22*HQI-OX OI= 348 at $2.15 SL=1.00
BUY PUT MAR-20 HQI-OD OI=1596 at $0.95 SL=0.50
BUY PUT APR-20 HQI-PD OI= 660 at $2.20 SL=1.00

Average Daily Volume = 3.02 mln



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


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

Please read our disclaimer at:
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