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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 04/25/2002

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Thursday 04-25-2002
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)
************************************************************ 
        04-25-2002        High      Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10035.06 +  4.63 10039.56  9926.57 1526 mln   1641/1504
NASDAQ   1713.70 +  0.36  1724.01  1697.27 1788 mln   1611/1942
S&P 100   540.69 -  1.17   542.71   537.31   totals   3252/3446
S&P 500  1091.48 -  1.66  1094.36  1084.81           
RUS 2000  508.85 +  1.53   509.07   503.31
DJ TRANS 2726.43 + 51.69  2732.16  2660.17
VIX        22.97 +  0.29    23.96    22.47
VXN        40.41 +  0.23    42.51    39.87
Put/Call Ratio      0.78
************************************************************
DOW HOLDS 10K, TYCO LOSES
by Leigh Stevens

All the Market Indices sold off to new lows for this move, but 
rebounded substantially and the Dow was defended at 10,000. Both 
the Dow Jones Industrials (INDU) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) 
ended fractional higher from yesterday.  Institutional money 
mangers and other big trading interests "defended" the 200-day 
moving average in the Dow at 9935. When the initial sell off to 
under this level lacked heavy offers, bids came back in some of 
the big cap stocks. 

Buying seemed to come from hedge fund short-covering, fund 
managers adding to their blue chip holdings and the buying effects 
of some index arbitrage between futures and stocks. 

The biggest disappointment today was on Tyco's (TYC) 
disappointing earnings and that it would not split into 4 parts. 
The company's stock got driven to a new 52-week low, closing at 
20.75, off $5.15 or 20%. A whopping 66 million shares were 
traded. Instead of the $3.14 estimated for their full-year, the 
conglomerate said it expected its Q4 earnings to be in the area 
of 2.60-2.70 a share.  

Talk about a shock - Tyco's surprise comes in a market where 
companies off by a penny or two, get beaten to a pulp. To add 
insult to injury, Tyco also said that its breakup strategy was a 
"mistake".  Instead, the company has a new vision and plans to 
spin off 100% of its commercial and consumer finance CIT unit in 
an IPO. The new company has $50 billion in managed assets, 
hopefully with none of that money invested in TYC stock.  

There is a theme a day in the market - yesterday, Amazon, today 
Tyco.  Tomorrow, who knows?  Having the SEC opening a formal 
inquiry into the practices of Wall Street Analysts is not 
contributing to the warm and fuzzy feelings of Main Street for 
Wall Street. It also has sent Merrill Lynch (MER) into another 
downside slide this week. 

TRADING STRATEGY - 
While I still see the market as being in a broad basing process, 
the market does not yet appear to be at a tradable bottom.  
Current valuations are not being defended. No bottom has been 
reached that you could buy into and go on vacation for more than 
a day and feel safe in Index calls. Hold your puts to keep you 
warm and stay with bearish strategies in the overall indexes and 
stocks in general. However, as talked about endlessly by the 
media talking heads, some sectors are in strong uptrends, bucking 
the bear trend. 

If in those sectors, count yourself lucky. New purchases on 
pullbacks in key stocks in these groups (or buying the deferred 
out-of-the money calls) that are continuing to climb on positive 
earnings momentum is a question however. These sectors may not 
have the same risk to reward equation as earlier this year, but 
still have some further upside potential it appears. 

Looking at some of these sectors in strong uptrends, I've 
estimated, on a technical basis, some potential further upside 
price targets: The Healthcare Payors Index ($HMO.X) closing at 
610.79 today, in a very strong move, projects to as high as 734 
on a big picture basis; Health Provider Index ($RXH.X), at 366.3 
today, has potential resistance coming in around 386; if it 
breaks out above this level, it could carry to as high as 430; 
The Gold and Silver Index ($XAU.X)- at 73.94 may have potential 
resistance at 88-90, but a possible objective is the 100 area; 
Oil Services Index ($OSX.X) -- at 106.78 has some nearby 
resistance at 112, but a possible upside target to 116 with major 
resistance beginning at 135. 

While there is greater risk the higher these groups climb, there 
appears to be further upside potential too. Use suitable stop 
points under prior downswing lows to exit, if these favorites 
reverse.   

I have revised my expected trading ranges, as it seems more 
likely that the low side of my expected and broadest trading 
range must now include the February bottoms in the S&P and the 
Dow as the potential low end. If 1080 in the S&P 500 gives way, 
especially on a weekly closing basis, the idea that the market is 
in a basing pattern is called into question. The 9600 area in the 
Dow is the level of its February low, but the Dow is trading well 
above this area as it has outperformed the S&P since then. The 
equivalent area in the Dow to SPX 1080 is the 9900 area in the 
Dow Industrials. (10 points in the Dow have been equal to a 1 
point move in the S&P.)   

If SPX 1080 and DJX 99 areas are reached and not breached, we can 
begin to look at some Index call purchases and unwind some put 
strategies. If S&P 1080 is breached, we may be looking at the 
1000 area as the next major stop on the bear express however.  
The next couple of weeks seem key.     

ANTICIPATED BROAD TRADING RANGES:

S&P 500: 1080-1170. Short-term: 1080-1120  
S&P 100: 530-600; Short-term: 530-560
Dow: 9,900-11,000; Short-term: 10,000-10,500
Nasdaq 100: 1200-1700; Short-term: 1300-1500


CHARTS TO WATCH -
 
S&P 500(SPX) Weekly - 


 
 

The key area here is clear.  SPX holds the 1080 area at its 
February low or, there is just "air" underneath as far as 
possible major buying interest -- until we get down to the 970-
1000 area, where the market bottomed back in September.  


Dow Industrials (INDU) Weekly - 


 

You often hear various media talking heads on CNBC say that such 
and such chart is a "good looking chart".  The weekly Dow chart 
is NOT a good-looking chart, IF its broad downtrend channel 
continues to define the broad trading range. You can make a bear 
case for an eventual move to well under near support in the 9900 
to 9600 area -- such, as down to the 9000 region.  Time will 
tell.  Right now I am not THAT bearish when looking at each of 
the 30 individual stocks in the Dow.     

OIL POLITICS - THE WILD CARD IN THE MARKET

"Normal" fundamental concerns at this juncture in the Market, 
center on fear and loathing type selling related to the earnings 
disappointers and concerns. However, there is also a political 
and economic wild card. 

The chart breakouts and accelerating upside momentum in the oil 
services and in gold stocks in the past couple of days, plus a 
firm oil index -- recent pullbacks in the Oil Sector Index 
($OIX.X) stocks nevertheless see the index holding its 50-day 
moving average -- speak to a bigger, backdrop fear: that of the 
Arab countries unleashing their oil weapon.  

A oil sales boycott would of course raise havoc with our SUV rich 
culture. If used, the oil card could send our emerging recovery 
into a tailspin and the improving earnings trend with it. What 
would happen to the market then - are we then looking at Dow 
8,000 again, or what?  

Not to be an alarmist, but just to note that this worry is 
starting to creep into the forefront of the brains of already 
stressed market participants, rather than remain a hidden fear. 
Exposure was given to the Mid East bogeyman in a widely quoted  
New York Times article today titled "Saudi to Warn Bush of 
Rupture Over Israel Policy". The NY Times has a influence way 
beyond the confines of the Isle of Manhattan. 

The article indicated that Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia 
was anticipated to tell President Bush at their meeting today, 
that the strategic relationship between their two countries will 
be threatened if Mr. Bush does not moderate his support for 
Israel's military policies. "In a bleak assessment, he said there 
was talk within the Saudi royal family and in Arab capitals of 
using the 'oil weapon' against the United States, and demanding 
that the United States leave strategic military bases in the 
region."

This is not to say that this will happen, but these are the MOST 
responsible and influential Arab leaders putting out word that 
they cannot resist the more radical politics of their Arab 
"street" forever. Arab TV shows images day after day of destroyed 
Palestinian areas.  Unless you have lived in this part of the 
world, and I speak from 3-years experience of living in Iran (and 
speaking Farsi), this is an emotional hotbox issue in a part of 
the world where emotions can dominate, more than the "rational" 
West.  

The article goes on to quote sources close to Abdullah that Saudi 
Arabia's recent assurances that it would use its surplus oil-
producing capacity to blunt the effects of Saddam Hussein's 30-
day suspension of Iraqi oil exports could quickly change. Having 
been a student of politics all my life, I know that when national 
interests diverge radically, such as is implied by this article, 
all bets are off.  We know we are vulnerable. Who knows, we may 
end up being totally dependant on our newfound friends, the 
Russians.  

ALL THAT GLITTERS - 
An acquaintance of mine, Thom Calandra (wish I was living in 
London again!) of CBS/Marketwatch highlighted his Marketwatch 
column today with a headline about gold's spot price approaching 
$310 for the first time since mid-Feb.  He and many market 
observers now have to give credence to the likelihood of a 
sustained rally in precious metals.  

"We're in the second stage of a raging market for gold, and 
eventually silver and palladium will follow," according to James 
Dines, who has been one of the best known advisory services that 
covers the gold mining companies. Jim is a well-known gold bug -- 
like my friend Bernie Savaiko, PaineWebber's metals analyst.  
Once a gold bug, always a gold bug, speaking from experience with 
this unusual breed.  

Thom speculates in his article, that the greenback has been the 
preferred safe haven by international worryworts for years, but 
this may be changing as our stock market sinks and Asian 
investors, who traditional held gold as a storehouse of value, 
get back on this glittering bandwagon.  

I hear from friends now who think investing in a gold fund may be 
the way to go to beat the sinking stock market. I tend to think 
that where there is smoke there must be fire. I trade 
technically, but think that technicals are driven by fundamentals 
- its just not always immediately apparent what all the 
fundamental influences are. So, my bearish view on gold is 
subject to the market telling me otherwise. 


Leigh Stevens
Chief Market Strategist
LStevens@OptionInvestor.com


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

MORE OF THE SAME? 
by Leigh Stevens

TRADING ACTIVITY AND OUTLOOK - 

Today's rebound had a similar look to other rallies that end up 
lacking follow through and fall apart once the first resistances 
are reached again. All of the hourly charts traced out what 
looked like little bear flags -- a sharp move lower (the 
"flagpole"), followed by a sideways consolidation in a narrow 
price range (the "flag"). The result: when prices drop under the 
low end of the narrow range of the flag, another downswing. A 
possible bearish "flag" has the most bearish look to it when it 
slopes UP, against the trend, as in the Dow chart below. 

The key will be whether the Dow regains prior support in the 
100.7 area basis DJX.  This was the breakdown point and should 
offer resistance.  If not, the bullish hammer on the DJX 
candlestick chart, speaks to a possible upside reversal and some 
follow through, back up to at least the top end of the hourly 
downtrend channel at 102.

Dow Daily/Hourly Charts - 


  

I'm gauging upside possibilities by the ability for DJX to pierce 
near resistance just under 101. Sell rally failures to this area.  

On the other hand, an ability to get and stay above 101 looks 
playable for a short-term bounce if you can and want to trade for 
what looks like a point to the upside. 

A mixed picture. Stay tuned. Best new trade plays have been 
short-term only, anticipating price movement to be contained 
within the downtrend channel, from 98.5 on low end to 101.7 at 
top end.  

SPX Daily/Hourly Charts -  


 

Well, we got close to the February low in the 1080 area and then  
closed near the high of the day, making this hammer type reversal 
pattern on the candlesticks.  The hourly chart however, looks 
like it could have traced out a minor bearish flag.  We'll see 
what SPX can get going, if anything, to the upside.  

Ability to move back above 1100 and stay there over tomorrow 
suggests some upside potential and another put play if there is a 
rebound back up to the 1112 area. Downside support is anticipated 
in the 1080 area, where calls could be bought for those with a 
taste for a counter-trend play.  Without better signs of a 
bottom, the higher potential for new option plays, continues to 
be to sell rallies.    


MAJOR INDICATORS -

Last night I looked at my call/put sentiment indicator, and 
tonight want to take a look at a 10-day average of total NYSE 
daily upside volume. When upside volume, on a 10-day moving 
average (blue line), has contracted to levels around the lower 
dashed line, it has tended to precede good-sized rallies. 
"Precede" is the key work here, as volume often precedes price. 

Daily upside volume, which measures the daily total of stock 
bought on up ticks is a good measure of bullish strength.  The 
willingness to "chase" rallies to some extent and buy in a rising 
trend is associated with most good-sized advances.
  
This measure of market momentum works best when oversold readings 
are also seen in the daily advance-decline figures and extreme 
bearish sentiment conditions (e.g., a day when daily CBOE 
equities put volume comes close to equaling call volume). This 
alignment has not happened yet. There could be a turn in market 
momentum here based on this "indicator" but the evidence is slim.



 


Leigh Stevens
Chief Market Strategist 
lstevens@OptionInvestor.com 


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

Is Fear Creeping Back into the Markets?
By Kent Barton

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the consensus changes 
when it comes to forecasting the market.  A mere six weeks ago, 
the talking heads on CNBC were falling all over themselves in 
predicting a bottom in tech spending and all-time highs on the 
Dow.  The institutions sure seemed to agree, as evidenced by the 
way the markets were shooting higher with reckless abandon.  Of 
course, in hindsight it's pretty clear that the rally in late-
February/early-March was a combination of short covering and hey 
the economy is turning around event.  The current earnings cycle 
has made it blatantly obvious that IT spending will not be 
improving anytime soon, and the Dow is mired in a month-long 
downtrend.  Suddenly, those optimistic forecasts seem at-odds 
with reality.

Don't look now, but the VIX is now at levels not seen since 
February.  The recent move higher could be attributed to a number 
of factors, including skittishness in the oil market, nervousness 
over tensions in the Mideast, a plethora of SEC investigations 
(the latest of which is targeting Wall Street brokerages), and 
earnings-induced volatility.  Whatever the reason for the recent 
move higher, it appears the tried-and-true "sell when the VIX is 
low" axiom is still intact.

Traders who shorted the market when the VIX dropped below 20 in 
late March are likely now sitting on some nice gains:  The NASDAQ 
has dropped 7.1% since the VIX.X bottomed out on March 28th, 
while Dow has shed 3.5%.  Of course, that doesn't mean there 
aren't any strong sectors.

The bullish percentage data reveals where the strength is - and 
it sure isn't in four-lettered stocks.  The NDX just reverted 
back to bear confirmed after briefly shifting to bull confirmed.  
Breakdowns in the software, biotech, and semiconductor groups all 
suggest that there may be more downside ahead.  On the other 
hand, the NYSE is firmly in bull confirmed territory.  Moves 
higher in the healthcare and homebuilding sectors have helped to 
offset losses in brokerage and cyclical stocks.

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

Market Averages


DJIA ($INDU)

52-week High: 11350
52-week Low :  8062
Current     : 10035

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 10156
 50-dma: 10277
200-dma:  9935



S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1316
52-week Low :  945
Current     : 1091

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1111
 50-dma: 1128
200-dma: 1130



Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 2071
52-week Low : 1089
Current     : 1302

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1358
 50-dma: 1424
200-dma: 1497



Health Provider ($HMO)

The HMO was the day's best performing sector during Thursday's
session.  The index tacked on 5.7% to finish at an all-time 
closing high of 610.  Boosting the sector today was Wellpoint 
(WLP), which rose sharply after reporting strong earnings.  Other 
sector performers included PacifiCare (PHSY), Trigon Healthcare 
(TGH), and Oxford Health (OHP).

52-week High: 611
52-week Low : 366
Current     : 610

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 567
 50-dma: 510
200-dma: 449


Broker/Dealer ($XBD)

The XBD was the worst performing sector on Thursday, declining by 
2.3% after the SEC announced a probe of Wall Street analysts.  
This news only exacerbated the selling in an already-weak sector.

Leading the group lower were Morgan Stanley (MWD), Merrill Lynch 
(MER), and Goldman Sacs (GS).

52-week High: 570
52-week Low : 317
Current     : 455

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 485
 50-dma: 498
200-dma: 475

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

Market Volatility

The Market Volatility Index (VIX.X) received a shot in the arm 
this morning after news of an explosion in NYC briefly spooked 
the market.  Although traders quickly shrugged off the news, the 
VIX.X finished higher for the fourth session in a row.  

The VXN finished fractionally higher and is now above the $40 
level, which had kept a lid on the index over the past week.

CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) - 22.97 +0.29
Nasdaq-100 Volatility Index  (VXN) - 40.41 +0.23

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

          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume
Total          0.78        593,336       463,701
Equity Only    0.68        527,689       360,122
OEX            1.15         10,312        11,912
QQQ            0.96         30,310        29,329

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

Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          64      + 0     Bull Confirmed
NASDAQ-100    33      - 4     Bear Confirmed
DOW           53      + 0     Bear Alert
S&P 500       64      - 1     Bear Alert 
S&P 100       60      - 1     Bear Alert

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  1.36
10-Day Arms Index  1.15
21-Day Arms Index  1.33
55-Day Arms Index  1.19

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      1655           1518
NASDAQ    1613           1934

        New Highs      New Lows
NYSE      152              56
NASDAQ    149             109

        Volume (in millions)
NYSE     1,513
NASDAQ   1,972

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

Commitments Of Traders Report: 04/16/02

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

The spread between S&P commercials and small traders narrowed
during the most recent reporting period.  Commercials added a
few more longs than shorts, resulting in a small reduction in the
group's net bearish position.  Meanwhile, small traders added
quite a few short positions, coming off of the group's yearly
high in bullishness.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
04/02/02      313,294   406,337   (93,403)  (13.0%)
04/09/02      320,101   411,075   (90,974)  (12.4%)
04/16/02      322,578   411,245   (88,667)  (12.1%)

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
04/02/02      149,449     43,139  106,310     55.2%
04/09/02      151,237     47,678  103,559     52.1%
04/16/02      150,529     50,424  100,105     49.8%

Most bearish reading of the year:  36,513 - 5/01/01
Most bullish reading of the year: 107,702 - 3/26/02

NASDAQ-100

Nasdaq commercials grew less bearish during the most recent
reporting period.  The group added a number of long positions,
while maintaining last week's short position.  Net, however, the
group is still bearish.  Small traders went in the opposite
direction by adding more shorts than longs, for a decrease in
the group's net bullish position.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
04/02/02       26,211     31,840    (5,629)   (9.7%)
04/09/02       28,985     35,221    (6,236)   (9.7%)
04/16/02       32,024     35,723    (3,699)   (5.5%)

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
04/02/02       10,615     7,769     2,846     15.5%
04/09/02       11,640     8,353     3,287     16.4%
04/16/02       12,458    10,572     1,878      8.2%

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

Dow commercials grew less bullish during the most recent reporting
period by reducing their number of longs and increasing their
number of shorts.  The group's net bullish position dropped by
about 1,100 contracts.  Small traders added slightly more longs
than shorts for a reduction in the group's net bearish position.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
04/02/02       18,717    12,549    6,168     19.7%
04/09/02       19,393    13,445    5,948     16.7%
04/16/02       19,080    14,267    4,813     14.4%

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
04/02/02        5,192     9,007    (3,815)   (26.9%)
04/09/02        5,459     9,340    (3,881)   (26.2%)
04/16/02        5,644     9,448    (3,804)   (25.2%)

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

THE SECTOR BEAT - 4/25
by Leigh Stevens


SECTOR ACTIVITY:

KEY SECTORS CONTINUE TO BUCK THE WEAK MARKET -

I asked myself the question today, how high can they go?  I 
examined key sectors continuing to outperform or accelerate to 
the upside.  I found that I could still calculate significantly 
higher targets on some of these "hot" sectors, on a technical 
basis: 

Healthcare Payors Index ($HMO.X) projects higher still although 
the rate of change seems unsustainable at the rate of last week 
and this. Nevertheless, point and figure and other technical 
measures of possible further upside targets, suggest potential to 
as high as 734.   



 


Health Provider Index ($RXH.X) - some resistance comes in around 
386; if it breaks out above this level, one projection is to 430.  



 


Gold and Silver Index ($XAU.X)- at 75.5 - would have some 
potential resistance at 88-90, but with a possible objective to 
100 area, which would likely prove to be major resistance, if 
reached.



 

Oil Services Index ($OSX.X) -- at 106.4 - has some resistance 
nearby at 112, but a possible upside target I calculate is 116; 
major resistance comes in beginning at 135, extending to 143. 



 


SUMMARY - 

It would not be surprising to see the two healthcare sectors 
going up further, especially HMO, with the 2 commodity-related 
sectors having maybe 25% additional upside.  

No specific suggestions today, but will be looking for specific 
stock plays with laggards or stocks correcting in these sectors 
to update soon. 

Mining stocks and other stock plays in the precious metals (XAU) 
sector, is the one that still looks to me like it could reverse 
at any point based on the rising wedge pattern on the XAU chart.  
However, the move in bullion today that broke out to above the 
recent trading range was impressive.  XAU needs to establish 
support at 73.5 to suggest a new up leg is beginning.     


>> NYSE financial index ($NF.X), today broke technical support 
based on weakness in the broker stocks.  

Nevertheless, continue to like the some of the property causality 
stocks, like Chubb (CB), St. Paul Cos. (SPC), for possible call 
plays. Have turned more cautious however.


>> DRG, the Pharmaceutical sector index ($DRG.X), (4/22). 
Rebounding from low end of a probable trading range and oversold.  
This sector is playable by the purchase of the May 60 Merck (MRK 
EL) calls, a prominent stock in this sector, especially on a 
pullback in the stock to the 54 area -- 4/25 close: 54.89. 


LONG/CALL TRADES, PREVIOUSLY RECOMMENDED:

>> Internet Sector index ($INX.X) - 4/17 Sector Trader 
suggestion: 
OPTION play: JNPR (Juniper Networks) May 15 Calls (JUX EC).
JNPR objective is to $18, based on the stock having potential to 
retrace half of the Dec - Feb. downswing.

The May 12.5's (JUX EV) Calls were later suggested.  


>> Telecom ($XTC.X) index - 4/15 suggestion:
OPTION play: Sector stock, Level 3 Communications (LVLT)-
1)June 5 Call (HGY FA) suggested at .60 and under
2)LVLT outright purchase, with stock under $5, also suggested. 
Objective on LVLT stock is to 5.5/6 based on upside potential 
based on the stock continuing to advance within its current 
uptrend channel.


>> Semiconductor Index ($SOX.X) - 4/15 Sector Trader suggestion:
May 650 calls suggested -- at 2.35 on 4/23 close, these calls 
have come down to a more attractive level, assuming SOX holds it 
prior recent low in 545-548 area -- still think the SOX sector is 
a play for a rebound in next 3-4 weeks, if index can hold these 
prior lows.  Otherwise, I will exit.

SOX slipped BELOW the early-April lows at 548-548, suggesting 
some risk of a new down leg. No additional call purchases are 
suggested. 

On a rally, may suggest exiting any calls and evaluating downside 
potential in SOX-member stocks like Micron (MU), KLA Tencor 
(KLAC), Teradyne (TER), Applied Materials (AMAT) or Intel (INTC). 


>> Cyclical sector ($CYC.X) - 4/15 suggestion:
1.) iShares Cyclical Trust (IYC)  - 4/16 open: 56.95
Objective: new high above 63.00
2.) OPTION play: CYC Sector stock, - Alcoa (AA) 
May 40 calls (AA EH) - 4/16 open: .60  

Looks like CYC break will test support beginning around 559, 
extending, down to 552. 552 is key support, where CYC topped in 
early-Jan.

Sector stock play suggested -- Alcoa (AA) May 40 calls -- is a 
hold only, as stock broke technical support. Calls aren't worth 
selling, but the stock pattern turned bearish, with key support 
in the $33 area.



>> Airline sector ($XAL.X) - 4/15 Sector Trader suggestion:
OPTION PLAY: XAL sector stock Southwest Airlines (LUV) 
Sept. 20 (LUV ID) call suggested at 1.25 or less.  
OBJECTIVE: $22 based on a rebound back toward the high end of the 
current 
uptrend channel.

LUV has been holding technical support, but just. Retreat in the 
stock to BELOW 17.25, on a closing basis, would cause me to exit. 


>> Utilities Index - Holders trust shares (AMEX: UTH) 
Long at 95.25 
Stop: 91.00; Longer-term objective: 105 



OPEN SHORTS/PUT PLAYS:

>> RTH (AMEX: Retail sector trust stock)
SHORT at 99.00 
Stop at 102 


LIQUIDATIONS:

>> XAU (PHLX Gold & Silver Index)
Reiterated purchase of the May 65 puts; 4/19
STOP: Exit puts if XAU moves to new closing high above 72.33

BASED ON SUGGESTED STOP, PUTS WERE CLOSED OUT ON THE 4/23 OPEN 


NOTE: RISK to REWARD guidelines -  
Determining an objective is important, even if it is a moving 
target, as this is the reward potential.   Determining reward 
potential is critical to establishing whether a stop that makes 
“sense” (e.g., a sell stop that was placed under a key support 
level) would, if triggered, result in a dollar loss that is in 
proportion to profit potential; e.g., 1/3 of it.  (On occasion, 
when the purchase price of call or put is equal to 1/3 or less of 
the estimated reward potential, there may not be a specific exit 
suggestion, as the cost of the option is equal to the amount that 
is being risked.)   


Leigh Stevens
Chief Market Strategist
lstevens@OptionInvestor.com


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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 04-25-2002
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:
*****

AET $49.91 +5.93 (+5.49) Pleasing investors with an upside
earnings surprise this morning, AET gapped higher on the news,
running as high as $51 before the euphoria began to wear off.
While we recommend not holding over an earnings announcement,
those that did in this case made out like bandits.  Clearly
AET is a drop tonight, as now that the news is known, there
could be some price weakness ahead.  

HI $59.18 -2.18 (-3.26) After spending most of the week
consolidating between $60-62, shares of HI broke down on
Thursday, following the lead of the broader market.  By late
afternoon, it was clear that the stock wasn't going to stage
any sort of rebound and with the close below our stop at $59.40,
it moves to the drop list tonight.  If you still have open
plays, look to exit on any sort of rebound in the morning.


PUTS:
*****

None


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

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

CALLS              Mon    Tue    Wed    Thu

AZO      78.75    0.16   0.40   0.74   2.87   Another breakout
TKTX     41.17    0.97  -0.45   0.11  -0.34   Steady Biotech
PNRA     67.16    0.26   1.61  -0.86  -0.59   Holding steady
AET      49.91    0.09  -1.06   0.53   5.49   Dropped, earnings.
HI       59.18   -1.54   0.90  -0.44  -2.18   Dropped, broke down
ACDO     62.55   -0.49  -0.32  -1.10   1.68   Strong, Health Care
THC      73.87   -1.00  -0.25   0.09   0.92   New, Health Care

PUTS

MU       27.55    1.40  -1.51  -2.09   0.25   Broke down with SOX
MXIM     49.86   -0.77  -1.54  -2.58  -0.17   Big breakdown, 200-dma
EBAY     51.79   -0.71  -1.25  -1.15   0.51   Lower highs
NVDA     33.74    0.19  -1.50  -3.12   1.26   Another entry point?
ADI      37.55   -0.45  -1.36  -1.56  -0.58   Resting on support
PLCM     20.19   -1.59  -1.58   0.56  -0.34   Bounce, entry point
VRTS     27.31   -0.39  -1.72  -1.66   0.46   New, Weak Storage


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

ACDO $62.55 +1.68 (-0.23) You didn't have to look very hard to
find the best performing sector on Thursday, as most sectors
spent the majority of the day in the red.  But the Health Care
index (HMO.X) shot higher again, this time tacking on a stellar
5.77% gain by the closing bell.  We were looking for an entry
into our ACDO play on a pullback, and yesterday's weakness
provided just that.  The stock rebounded from the $61 level this
morning and never looked back, gaining 2.75% by the end of the
day.  But the best is yet to come, as ACDO looks like it wants
to breakout to new highs.  Another pullback to support would be
a gift at this point, but we can hope.  Target fresh entries on
a rebound from the $61.50 support level or possibly on another
test of $61.  Trading the breakout to new highs makes sense too,
so long as ACDO clears the $63.25 level on strong volume.  Raise
stops to $59.

AZO $78.75 +2.87 (+4.17) Another breakout proves there are
pockets of strength that are capable of withstanding the weakness
in the broader market.  After consolidation for the past few
days, shares of AZO inched above the $76 level on Wednesday,
hinting at the next bullish breakout.  We didn't have to wait
long, as AZO shot higher right from the open and new entries
taken on the breakout above Wednesday's high are up nicely
tonight.  Adding to the bullish conviction was volume that came
in 50% above the ADV as the stock rose intraday to within a few
cents of its all time high of $80 before pulling back a bit at
the close.  While it looks like AZO could continue to run higher,
the $80 level is likely to be a tough hurdle without some follow
through from the broad market.  Look to initiate new positions
on a pullback to intraday support either at $77.25 or $76.75.
Aggressive momentum traders can initiate new plays on a decisive
breakout over $80, but will need to keep a sharp eye out for
profit taking.  We're raising our stop to $76.50.

PNRA $67.16 -0.59 (+0.42) There's nothing much to report on the
PNRA play except that it is holding up much better than the rest
of the market.  The stock has spent the past two weeks
consolidating the gains from its run up to the $68 level.  While
the stock has been trading sideways, the 20-dma has been rising
to meet the current price and if history is any guide, it will
provide a boost for the stock to rebound from the vicinity of
$66.  Continue to use intraday dips near this level to initiate
new positions ahead of the anticipated rally or else wait for the
bulls to pile on and drive the stock through $70.  Either way,
we're keeping our stop in place at $66, as a close below that
level would be a bad omen for our play.

TKTX $41.17 -0.34 (+0.29) A quick look at TKTX's chart isn't
going to inspire confidence until you realize that it is
performing much better than the broader Biotechnology sector
(BTK.X).  The BTK broke down below the critical $450 level on
Thursday and appears destined to fall further.  In the face of
that weakness, TKTX has been gradually clawing its way higher
for the past 3 weeks and is trying desperately to build a
bullish trend.  Even today, the stock battled back from its
intraday lows to close with just a fractional loss.  The recent
pattern of higher lows is consistently finding support at the
rising 50-dma (currently $40.36) and any sort of rebound in the
BTK will likely propel the stock through resistance at $42.
Use intraday dips near the $40 level to open new positions or
wait for a solid rally through Monday's high of $40.39 before
playing.

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

THC– Tenet Healthcare Corp. $73.87 +0.92 (-0.24 this week)

THC is the second largest investor-owned healthcare services
company in the United States.  As of the end of May, 2001, the
company's subsidiaries and affiliates owned or operated 111
general hospitals with more than 27,000 licensed beds and
related healthcare facilities serving urban and rural
communities in 17 states.  The related healthcare facilities
included a small number of rehabilitation hospitals, specialty
hospitals, long-term care facilities, and numerous medical
office buildings located nearby its general hospitals and
physician practices.

No sector of the market is trading better than Health Care right
now and that becomes abundantly clear when you look at a daily
chart of the HMO index.  After breaking out to new highs earlier
this month, the stock has gone nearly vertical, shooting to new
highs while the broad market is tanking.  Now that is relative
strength!  The HMO's rise has been fueled by stellar earnings
from a long string of companies in the sector and it doesn't
appear that the rocket ride will end anytime soon.  Breakouts
have become rather commonplace in this group and THC appears
poised to have one of its own.  The stock has been steadily
moving higher since early March, posting a series of higher highs
and higher lows on solid volume.  The triple top breakout at $67
put THC on a strong buy signal on the PnF chart and the current
vertical count is pointing to an eventual rise to $109.  Clearly
there is still room to run.  Entries are easy to manage on this
one, with the consistent uptrend in place.  Dips near the
ascending trendline (currently $72.50) would make for an ideal
entry ahead of the breakout.  Otherwise, wait for the breakout
and enter on a push through the stock's all-time highs at $74.50.
Initial stops are in place at $71.

BUY CALL MAY-70 THC-EN OI=5005 at $4.60 SL=2.75
BUY CALL MAY-75*THC-EO OI=1125 at $1.30 SL=0.75
BUY CALL JUN-75 THC-FO OI= 260 at $2.35 SL=1.25
BUY CALL JUN-80 THC-FP OI=  15 at $0.75 SL=0.25

Average Daily Volume = 1.68 mln



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

ADI $37.55 -0.58 (-3.95) Bearish traders have had a regular party
in the Semiconductor sector (SOX.X) this week, pummeling it
through the $555 support level on Wednesday and driving it as
low as $525 today.  The late-day rebound didn't look very
convincing, as the SOX barely managed to regain the 200-dma by
the close.  Shares of ADI are looking mighty weak after breaking
below the $40 support level earlier this week and coming to rest
just above the $36.75 support level (the site of the February
lows).  Daily Stochastics may be deep in oversold territory, but
given the heavy selling volume (more than 50% above the ADV on
Thursday), it looks like there is more pain in store for the
bulls.  Look for an oversold rebound to run out of steam near the
$40 level to provide fresh entries on the rollover.  Otherwise,
look to enter the play on a breakdown below support, confirmed by
the SOX breaking support as well.  There is additional support
near $35 and if that fails, it is highly likely that ADI will be
testing the September lows near $30.  Lower stops to $40.50.

EBAY $51.79 +0.51 (-2.60) Following Wednesday's violation of
the 7-month trendline, it was a nip and tuck day for shares of
EBAY on Thursday.  Early weakness drove shares of the online
auction site as low as $50.52 (slightly below the low of 2 weeks
ago) before rebounding to close with a 1% gain on the day.  While
the bulls are trying mightily to defend the $49-50 support level,
there is no question that the prevailing downtrend is still
intact.  So long as the string of lower highs continues, selling
the rallies will be the way to go.  Intraday resistance is
building near $52.50, with more between $53.00-53.50.  Use a
failed rally near either of those levels to initiate new
positions in advance of the expected breakdown in price.  Note
that the stock is now below its ascending trendline (currently
$52) and it may now start acting as resistance.  Trading the
breakdown is a viable strategy as well, but we'll want to see
EBAY drop through the $50.50 level with conviction before
playing.  And don't forget about the February low ($48.85), which
is likely to provide some short-term support.  Keep stops set at
$54.25.

MU $27.55 +0.25 (-1.95) The Semiconductor sector (SOX.X) can't
rally its way out of a wet paper bag lately, and that is plainly
seen by the sharp decline through numerous support levels over the
past week.  Although the SOX found some support at the $525 level
on Thursday, that is likely just a resting point on its way back
below $500.  Shares of MU had been holding up fairly well in
anticipation of the acquisition of the Hynix assets.  But once the
news was released, the stock has been weakening right along with
the rest of the sector.  Wednesday's action finally saw the $29
support level give way and now the bears are in the process of
drilling through the next support at $27.  With the closely
staggered support levels, our best approach will be to use a
failed rally to the $29 level to initiate new bearish positions.

MXIM $49.86 -0.17 (-5.06) As the Semiconductor sector (SOX.X)
has collapsed this week, MXIM has been a beautiful put play,
rolling over right at the $58 resistance level and then falling
through one support level after another.  Wednesday's sharp
decline left the stock resting just above the 200-dma (currently
$49.91) and after a lot of directionless chop throughout the day
on Thursday, it comes as no surprise that the stock is resting
right on the 200-dma again.  This level will be pivotal to MXIM
and whether it rallies from here with the fledgling rebound in
the SOX, or if the 200-dma becomes just the latest failed support
level.  Intraday support is now resting at $49 and momentum
traders will want to see that level give way before pressing the
downside with new plays.  The best way to play is to enter on a
failed rally, either near the 6-month ascending trendline ($51),
which should now act as resistance or up near the $52 broken
support (now resistance level).  We've got some nice gains in the
play already, and in an effort to not give them back, we're
lowering our stop to $52.50.

NVDA $33.74 +1.26 (-3.18) After the beating that NVDA took on
Wednesday, it was nice to see a bit of a bounce in the stock on
Thursday.  We needed the NVDA to rebound so that we can look for
our next entry point to the downside, particularly if the
Semiconductor index (SOX.X) is going to continue falling.
Speaking of the SOX, the bulls stepped in to defend the $525
support level today, which is precisely the 38% retracement of
the fall rally. The late day rally brought the SOX back from the
brink to close just slightly above the 200-dma ($537.63) with
resistance now looming near $555.  Look for a failed rebound in
the SOX to give us our next high-odds entry for our NVDA play.
Intraday resistance came in at $34.25 and kept the bulls in check
all day.  With the descending trendline still in force (now at
$36), also the site of broken support (now resistance) it will
take a serious rally in the chip sector to drive NVDA through
that level.  Target new entries on a failed rally near either
the $34.25-34.50 level or up between $35.50-36.00.  Keep stops
set at $36.25.

PLCM $20.19 -0.34 (-2.95) Following its breakdown under the $20
level, PLCM is trying valiantly to put in a bottom.  The stock
recovered somewhat on Wednesday, but that just turned out to be
an entry point, as the stock fell to the $19.50 level first thing
today.  As the markets tried to decide whether to bounce or fall
today, PLCM bounced from the $19.50 level on three separate
occasions before finally rebounding to close just over the $20
level.  The bigger picture though shows the stock firmly mired in
a downtrend and this bounce looks like an opportunity to jump
onboard with new positions.  Look for another rollover in the
$20.50-21.00 resistance area or possibly as high as $21.50 on a
strong rebound.  Momentum players will want to wait for a
breakdown below the $19.25 level before playing.  Lower stops
to $22.


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

VRTS – Veritas Software $27.31 +0.46 (-3.31 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.

Storage stocks have been trading heavy all month and judging by
the recent action in the broad Technology market, they will
continue to do so for awhile longer.  While stocks like BRCD and
EMLX have been mired in persistent downtrends, the real weakness
seems to be coming from those stocks that are involved on the
Software side of the Storage sector.  That brings us to VRTS,
which broke down in a big way following the less than upbeat
conference call on April 16th.  Citing weak IT spending, the
company warned and was promptly pummeled the following day,
falling below the $32 support level.  Since that time, VRTS has
been sliding downhill and the slope of that hill has been getting
steeper as the NASDAQ has been falling through its February lows.
The stock is currently resting on the $26-27 support level, and
if it fails to hold, things could get ugly in a hurry.  After
$26, the stock should find mild support in the $23-24 area before
heading down to test the September lows near $17.  It would be
nice to get an oversold rebound before initiating new positions,
and it looks like that may have gotten started this afternoon.
Look for a rollover from the $28-29 area or up at $30 to trigger
new entries and set stops initially at $30.50.  Should the bounce
fail to materialize, then use a drop through the $26 level to
initiate new positions.

BUY PUT MAY-30 VIV-QF OI=19869 at $3.80 SL=2.25
BUY PUT MAY-25*VIV-QE OI=13730 at $1.25 SL=0.50

Average Daily Volume = 12.7 mln



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offers fast option executions

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


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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 04-25-2002
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        3 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


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

NVDA – NVIDIA Corporation $33.74 +1.26 (-3.18 this week)

NVIDIA Corporation designs, develops and markets 3D graphics
processors, graphics processing units and related software that
set the standard for performance, quality and features for
every type of desktop personal computer user.  Used in a wide
variety of application including games, the Internet and
industrial design, the company's products were the first to
incorporate a 128-bit multi-texturing graphics architecture.
This design approach delivers to users a highly immersive,
interactive 3D experience with compelling visual quality and
stunning effects at real-time frame rates.  NVDA sells its
products to major PC manufacturers such as Compaq, Dell,
Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Most Recent Write-Up

After the beating that NVDA took on Wednesday, it was nice to
see a bit of a bounce in the stock on Thursday.  We needed the
NVDA to rebound so that we can look for our next entry point to
the downside, particularly if the Semiconductor index (SOX.X) is
going to continue falling.  Speaking of the SOX, the bulls
stepped in to defend the $525 support level today, which is
precisely the 38% retracement of the fall rally. The late day
rally brought the SOX back from the brink to close just slightly
above the 200-dma ($537.63) with resistance now looming near $555.
Look for a failed rebound in the SOX to give us our next
high-odds entry for our NVDA play.  Intraday resistance came in
at $34.25 and kept the bulls in check all day.  With the
descending trendline still in force (now at $36), also the site
of broken support (now resistance) it will take a serious rally
in the chip sector to drive NVDA through that level.  Target new
entries on a failed rally near either the $34.25-34.50 level or
up between $35.50-36.00.  Keep stops set at $36.25.

Comments

As if the weakness in the SOX wasn't bad enough, NVDA is still
suffering from investor flight in the wake of MSFT's earnings
report.  Recall that MSFT revealed that Xbox sales had been soft
so far and given that NVDA makes the graphics chips that go into
the game unit, it is a safe bet that area of NVDA's business is
soft too.  With an established downtrend, we just have to sell
the failed rallies so long as the SOX remains in the bears'
control.

BUY PUT MAY-35*RVU-QG OI=4609 at $3.80 SL=2.25
BUY PUT MAY-30 RVU-QF OI=4904 at $1.60 SL=0.75

Average Daily Volume = 11.1 mln


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

Will support hold?


To Read The Rest of The OptionInvestor.com Market Posture Click Here
http://www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture/042502_1.asp


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