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Daily Newsletter, Monday, 06/17/2002

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The Option Investor Newsletter                   Monday 06-17-2002
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
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MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
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      06-17-2002          High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA     9687.42 +213.21  9687.77  9476.50  1.23 bln   2400/ 821
NASDAQ   1553.29 + 48.55  1555.07  1519.26  1.59 bln   2332/1138
S&P 100   516.18 + 14.42   516.18   501.76   Totals    4732/1959
S&P 500  1036.17 + 28.90  1036.17  1007.27             
RUS 2000  470.74 + 11.67   470.75   459.07
DJ TRANS 2729.93 + 56.79  2735.24  2672.85
VIX        27.62 -  2.31    29.12    27.00
VXN        54.98 -  0.69   55.33     53.30
TRIN        0.35
PUT/CALL    0.75
******************************************************************

NEWSFLASH!
By Buzz Lynn
buzz@OptionInvestor.com

Sometimes I struggle for new words to express the same idea.  How 
is it possible for a prairie cowboy to write in his diary that he 
ate cornbread and beans again today while keeping it interesting?  
What he wouldn't give for the opportunity to write "steak and 
potato chips" for once!  

I see that the markets are up triple digits on any given day and 
the only words I hear coming from the lips of investors and the 
dominant financial press are, "Is this the bottom?  Screaming 
buys?"  Or, "Encouraging - is the rebound 'finally' here?"  Sorry, 
this cowboy can only report, "legumes and baked maize meal."  The 
S&P is selling at 40.8 times earnings while yielding 1.59%.  So my 
emphatic answer is, "No!"  This is all blather in a primary bear 
market, where long-term, "buy and hold" strategies cease to 
produce returns for those interested in preserving, let alone 
growing their nest eggs.

Now for traders, it's a whole different story.  Just knowing that 
history repeats thanks to the ebbs and flows of human psychology 
through the rivers of time is the basis for making profits.  In 
economic terms, it always boils down to supply and demand.  Demand 
can be gauged for the most part by volume.  By that measure, there 
isn't enough to raise prices across the board.  That just makes 
sense given the foreign owners can take their money home and 
receive a better return for it there.  And as locals (U.S.), we've 
collectively speculated enough and are much more hesitant to send 
our $$$ out into the cruel market unless the prospect of improved 
profits are there.  Anybody seen that lately?  Me either.  And the 
big picture doesn't appear as though it's going to change 
overnight.

But the little picture is subject to headline exposure and chart 
oscillators.  Oscillators are oversold, which could mean a 
temporary rally isn't far off.  More on that in a minute.  Just 
remember as we see equity prices rise, many attempts to 
rationalize it will sound like, "Well, profits are going to 
improve in the second half of the year.  Therefore, now is the 
time to back up the truck for all you can afford.  Why will 
profits improve?  Because the markets are rising and everyone 
knows that prices follow earnings."  Current market bear, Bill 
Fleckenstein notes that, "If this isn't a case of a cat chasing 
its tail, I don’t know what is."  I agree.  But as the shorts 
cover near the oscillator bottom, triple-witching week works its 
magic on keeping volatility high, the hopeful pitch their eyes 
toward ORCL earnings tomorrow, and the semiconductor book-to-bill 
ratio is released, equity prices are position for a rebound if 
only for a short while.  Speaking of which. . .

Fables, Book-to-Bill, and Urban Legends.  This one always gets me.  
Over the last year, people high on semi-dust are quick to point 
out that the book to bill ratio is increasing and now back over 1.  
Well sort of.  The emphasis is always on the increased booking 
with assumption is that billing (Remember, that's the part where 
manufacturers get paid.) is rising but not as fast as booking.  By 
golly, the rising ratio must mean the whole sector is on fire, and 
thus there are abundant "compelling values" throughout the whole 
sector.  Reality check: flat billings can produce the same 
results.  Check this out from the ISI.

ISI Book to Bill Table:


 

Note that billings have remained relatively flat over the last six 
months.  Analyst suffering from truth decay should call this by 
its rightful name, flat revenue.  This only looks good if we 
accept the premise that billings will catch up to bookings and 
that bookings will keep rising.  I've heard of some beautiful 
swampland and a particular bridge that happen to be for sale too.  
Count me among the skeptics.

Nacchio Cheese.  Another one bites the dust. . .a high-profile, 
corporate CEO, that is.  Over the weekend, Joe Nacchio was removed 
from his post as CEO of Qwest Communications.  Phillip Anschutz, 
Q's largest shareholder and previous supporter of Nacchio, finally 
voted with the board over the weekend for the ousting.  Times are 
definitely tough in the telecom industry and Q becomes another 
company, along with T, GX, WCOM, WCG, etc., to fall on hard times.  
Nacchio leaves Q having issued over $25 bln in debt to buy out 
other competitors, including its biggest acquisition, former baby 
bell, U.S. West.  The former head of Tellabs (TLAB), Richard 
Notebaert, who was also the head of Ameritech (another baby bell 
that merged with SBC) may have got the new job based on his 
ability to clean up a company and package it for sale.  With over 
$25 bln in debt, that's quite an undertaking for the incoming 
Notebaert.  

As for Nacchio Joe (not to be confused with Tokyo Joe), who had a 
penchant for talking up his favorite stock (Q) in front of media 
cameras, he managed to unload $345 mln in shares in the last two 
years in what looks like terrific timing on his part (big wink of 
the eye) and will receive roughly two years of salary and bonus at 
roughly $10 mln per year as he says, "Cheese!" for the camera at 
his exit interview.

Anderson's non-Fairytale Ending.  Not to be outdone, the jury 
finally returned a "guilty" verdict in Arthur Anderson's 
obstruction of justice trial.  Surprisingly, AA's lawyers say they 
plan to appeal.  Buy why?  To what end?  I can't imagine ANY 
company wanting to keep them as an auditor or consultant.  Their 
remaining customers are worth something to another firm that may 
want to buy them.  But I would question the integrity of any 
management that would want to keep AA on the job.  That said, AA's 
customers that haven't already defected in droves ought to be 
doing so now.  And if you are a firm that used to compete with AA, 
the new customers will come to you now without you having to pay 
AA for the privilege.  Why pay AA for the business that will 
otherwise cost nothing following verdict?  No reason to now.  An 
appeal accomplished nothing for the firm.  Poof!  The End for AA.

Piece Dividends.  CNBC notes that dividends are making a comeback.  
No kidding!  As we noted last week, corporate leaders had foregone 
dividends on the theory that that their ten best business ideas 
could produce a better return than investors' first best business 
idea known as dividends.  CNBC points out that even while profits 
are down, dividends are on the rise - a sort of "peace" offering 
to keep investors interested in the company stock.  It may not be 
so far fetched that corporate brass is shifting to the belief that 
shareholders demand for a real return IS a better idea than 
managements' previous ten best.  However, a dividend doesn't mean 
a company is safe from financial storms.  Some managements have 
actually cut dividends causing investors to label them a peace of 
a different kind - a piece of . . .well, never mind.  NT, F, Q, 
and T are all examples of companies that have eliminated or cut 
dividends in the past few month.  T, the original widows' and 
orphans' favorite, pioneered the territory by eliminating their 
dividend nearly two years ago.  That's the Piece Dividend.  I 
would not be surprised to see EK cut theirs in the future too.

Let's go to the charts.

Dow Industrial chart - INDU (weekly/daily/60):


 

Here we are at resistance on the daily and 60-min charts.  Sure 
the daily chart emerged from oversold in May, but that didn't keep 
the markets from falling.  Will it be different with this long 
green candle from today?  Possible, but history repeats and to 
think of today's rally in any other terms than a one-day wonder is 
to defy the odds.  The overbought 60-min stochastic coupled with 
the 60-min candles seem to suggest that the next move is down.  
That said, it is quite possible that we get a few extended days of 
bullishness to correct for the predominantly down days we seen 
over the last month, but no without a 60-min chart entering 
oversold again first.  I would not be surprised to see 9500 again 
on the downside with 9750 acting as resistance.  If I were a 
trader, I'd be praying for a gap up on the heels of today to 
somewhere over 9700, then take puts as the 60-min stochastic rolls 
down.  Expecting then that we see a bounce from the oversold 
condition, I'd look to book profits and re-consider calls then.

Just an aside for the Dow only. . .I note above that the 50-dma 
(magenta) is falling rapidly toward the 200-dma at 9850 (gray).  
Both of those will provide big resistance, and if the 50 should 
cross down under the 200, there is virtually no chance that this 
rally is "for real".  Remember, the Dow has been the star 
performer and strong man ahead of the NASDAQ and the SPX.  If the 
strongest of the major indexes is to fail at that juncture, I'll 
be a bearish trader across the board, especially on NASDAQ stocks.

NASDAQ Composite chart - COMPX (weekly/daily/60):


 

For the NASDAQ, I'd take the same approach.  Note that daily 
stochastics are on the rise, but candles are at a reasonable point 
of resistance.  While the 60-min stochastic painted nicely for 
bulls today, the candles are at resistance and the stochastic 
looks like it wants to roll over.  Pray for the pop and drop to 
trade calls then look to be long at a higher low.

S&P 500 chart - SPX (weekly/daily/60):


 

Compared the Dow, the granddaddy index (SPX) sure isn't leading 
the charge like it used to.  Here's yet another chart that has a 
rising daily stochastic with the 60 in overbought, and at 
resistance to boot.  Same story here. . .Ideally, a pop and drop 
creates a quick put opportunity with support coming in around 
1020, which sets up a reasonable risk for going long.  Again, this 
is a fantasy, with a probable chance of success from what I see on 
the charts.  Big resistance at 1100 and 1077 too from the 200 and 
50 dma's respectively.

Tying this all together, this is a bear market with spurts in the 
bulls' favor.  That will keep it rangebound for years to come in 
my opinion.  Accounting Fraud, CEO's in Jail, insider sales 
scandals, fallen former corporate heroes (Oh, and did I mention 
falling equity prices?) are not part of a bull market.  They are 
part of a bear market and will not just go away because we had an 
"encouraging" day in the market.  Sure is good for a couple of 
trades though!

There. . .we shook up the format a little, but in the end, we have 
beans and cornbread.  

See you at the bell.


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

TIME OVER TIME
by Leigh Stevens

TRADING ACTIVITY AND OUTLOOK - 
The market only needed the absence of negatives over the 2-day 
span of time of the weekend to continue the rally that began from 
new lows on Friday - the new lows and subsequent upside reversals 
now look like "bear trap" reversals.  Due to the closes of the 
various indices being right at resistance trendlines on the 
hourly charts and reading overbought on the shorter (5-hour) 
stochastic indicator, it could have gone either way.  

The backdrop to this rally was the very "oversold" Arms Index 
(TRIN) readings that have been seen in this market - recently 
(June 7) we saw the 10-day Arms Index above 1.50.  This is 
noteworthy in itself, given the historical tendency for this to 
be associated with strong rallies developing within 3-4 weeks 
after such a 10-day reading.  However, this recent high 
10-day TRIN was the 3rd such reading level in as many months!  
Obviously, this indicator can be way early or doesn't work so 
ell as a "contrary" indicator; i.e., extreme selling pressure 
does not suggest a market reversal reliably in a time frame that 
we can predict.  

What we do know is that this was an historical extreme - 3 
readings in a row like we've had.  I have often spoke of a 
tendency for extremes of one kind to be followed by some periods 
of the opposite extreme.  Therefore, the 1-day very low TRIN 
reading of today, at .34 (extreme buying pressure) on the NYSE, 
does not made me immediately bearish - that it, expecting the 
market to fall apart.  It may correct, but I don't think that 
this rally is going to reverse back into the bear trend that 
we're so used.  

Now, I have been suggesting that the market was "due" for an 
intermediate rally for a while.  Maybe, this time is different 
and the 3rd. move to the oversold extreme suggested by the 10-day 
TRIN at such an extreme will signal at least the start of a 
decent summer rally.  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, we've also 
gotten overbought on a short-term basis.  Nasdaq hourly charts 
especially have pattern that suggest that prices could roll over 
to the downside over the next couple of sessions.  Down from here 
and/or sideways at least to "throw off" this near-term overbought 
conditions.      


S&P 500 ($SPX.X) Daily/Hourly charts: 


 

The rally came from the area of the lower envelope lines but  
occurred after a period of prices "sliding" down the line. Volume 
was not huge on either exchange, but I rely on price first - 
volume should come along later if the rally has any "legs".  On 
the SPX, which trades in a broader channel typically on an hourly 
chart basis, only one prior (up) swing high has been exceeded.  
Look for resistance now at each next higher swing high - at 1039-
1040, then at 1050.  The top of the channel is 1058.  If this 
area is reached I would turn seller.  

Pullbacks to the prior swing high at 1023, should offer support - 
then, if pierced, at 1010.  As noted we are at overbought 
extremes on the short and longer stochastic models on the hourly 
charts. This situation is "within" the context of the daily 
stochastic oscillator showing upward momentum, rebounding from an 
oversold extreme. 

I view a good-sized pullback as a buying opportunity, but the 
next short-term index play looks like it is in puts. After such a 
strong 2-day move especially - rare to see a 3rd.strong up day 
move in a market that, at best, is transitioning to a rally phase 
for a while.  

S&P 100 ($OEX.X) Daily/Hourly charts:


 

Unlike the broader "500" index, the OEX rallied to above two of 
its prior swing highs, and like the SPX is now quite close to 
implied resistance suggested by the next prior high that has not 
been exceeded.  520-521 looks like the next resistance area to 
watch; then, not before 537.  My best guess is that we'll see a 
rally reversal from either the closing level or this few points 
higher, at the prior hourly top. Look for support on pullbacks to 
the 508-510 area, then to 502-505.. 


Dow Index (1/100: $DJX.X) - Daily/Hourly charts:


 

Favor selling DJX in the 97.6-98 area, and buying on pullbacks. 
The first area of expected support is in the 94.5-94.7 area, with 
"better" support expected around 93.5.  While its possible that 
the lows in the 92.6 area might be re-tested, it seems more 
likely that this will prove to be wishful thinking to those short 
the Dow index. 

Nasdaq 100 Trust Stock (QQQ) Daily/Hourly charts:

As said on Friday and repeated here: The dashed level line on the 
daily QQQ chart intersects its September intraday low.  On this 
basis we have to assume the possibility of a bottom, given the 
move to a new low and the close well above it -- a classic "bear 
trap" reversal. 



 

One prior swing high has been exceeded (28.2) - the next one is 
at 28.8. Expect resistance at 28.8-29 - above this area, at 29.5-
29.7.  I favor shorting at and above 28.5 - for example, on a 
higher opening tomorrow.  The chart pattern on the hourly chart 
has the "curved" look of an index that is about to "roll over" to 
the downside.  

A first level of support is at 27.7, then next at 27.00.  I would 
want to observe the intraday price action over the next 1-2 days, 
but it looks now like 27.00 and under is the place to buy the 
Q's.  


Leigh Stevens
Chief Market Strategist 
lstevens@OptionInvestor.com 


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**************
TRADERS CORNER
**************

In Volatile Markets, Know Your Exit Strategy
by Mark Phillips
mphillips@OptionInvestor.com

And I mean know it inside out!  I've talked at great length in
the past about determining your exit point for a given trade
before entering it.  That is a must for any successful trader
that wants to remain in this game for the long term.  But in
these volatile markets, we need contingency plans.  What if due
to factors beyond your control you cannot exit a given trade when
your exit point (either for a profit or stop-loss) is reached?  

I've been trading the OEX (S&P 100) options lately in my pursuit
of profiting from the large-range moves of late in the broad
market.  As the OEX rolled over from its month-long descending
channel last Thursday afternoon, I took a position in the June
$500 Puts on the expectation that the index would visit the
sub-500 area prior to the end of the week.

Sure enough, the OEX continued down into the close on Thursday,
ending at its low of the day and allowing me to go to bed that
night with a bit of a profit cushion in the trade.  Imagine my
glee when I awoke the next morning to see the futures down
sharply on negative news.  The negative open had my position
moving deep into the profit zone and then there was the
spectacular drop in the Consumer Confidence numbers that
seemingly dropped the bottom out of the market.  It had the
looks of a possible panic session, but true to my discipline,
I was ready to exit the play once the OEX hit $495.  

Sure enough that target was hit before the end of amateur hour
and at the time the contracts that I had paid a meager $7 for
were trading north of $20.  I'm not one to be greedy and with my
profit target achieved, it was time to leave the party.  I keyed
up those contracts in my broker window, sent an order to sell
the entire position and was dismayed when no confirmation of a
sent order showed up on my computer.  What now??

After 2 more attempts to close my position, I finally got an
error message back indicating that there was no order routing
available.  Huh?  What does that mean?  All the while, I am
watching the price of my puts decline as the oversold bounce
gets underway.  I am a big fan of technology and greatly prefer
to do my trading online due to greater efficiency.  What I was
faced with here though, was a situation in which technology was
standing in my way.  So did I continue to fight with the
technological issues?  No way!!  I picked up the phone, got my
broker on the phone and asked what the problem was.

I was quickly and efficiently informed that the CBOE's electronic
order system was down.  Uh-oh, that doesn't sound good.
Fortunately, my broker anticipated my needs and informed me that
they could still place an order with the CBOE, just not through
the electronic system.  Done!  I gave the verbal order to my
broker and let the process take its course.  Within 5 minutes, I
had the confirmation that my order had been filled, and I was
successfully out of the trade.  Whew!  The good news is that I
netted better than 100% for less than a 3-hour hold.  The
frustrating part was that if I could have exited when I made my
original attempt, it would have been a 200% profit.  Ouch!  I
hate to think what would have happened if I had a less-responsive
and capable broker.  By the close of trading on Friday, the
contract I had been trading was down to about $9 and a lack of
decisiveness would have left me watching all my intraday gains
melt away.

So while the trade didn't go as well as I would have liked, I
certainly won't sneeze at a solid return on invested capital.  As
I do with all trades, I then turned my attention to determining
what lessons I had learned from the experience.

OEX options are only traded on the CBOE, meaning that if there
is a connectivity problem with that exchange, I can't just
redirect my order to a different exchange.  Fortunately in this
case, I was able to get my order executed by phone, but if the
CBOE had been offline, I may not have been able to exit the
trade.  The lesson learned here is a reminder of the inherent
risks of trading that we were first confronted with following
the September terrorist attacks.  It is entirely possible in our
world to be in a trade that goes against us while we are unable
to get out.  How will I change my trading relative to the OEX?
I probably won't, but in the future, if I have a problem with
an electronic trade execution on the OEX, I will pick up the
phone and call my broker even quicker.

But what if it isn't just a simple technology issue?  What if
the CBOE is completely offline and I have an open trade that I
need to exit based on my predefined criteria?  Well, the OEX is
a broad-based market average, including industrial old-economy
names as well as many technology-related issues.  One action
that I could have taken in the trade I've profiled here would
have been to initiate a hedge of my OEX put position profits
using other instruments.

Specifically, as I saw the broad markets bouncing, I could have
initiated call positions on the DOW (DJX) and NASDAQ (QQQ).
Then as my OEX Puts lost value, the calls on the DJX and QQQ
would have at least partially offset the loss.  It wouldn't be
a perfect hedge, and I would lose on both sides of the trade
as volatility dropped, but it is a better solution then sitting
helplessly in front of the computer like a deer caught in the
headlights.  And then once I regained the ability to exit my OEX
trade, I could simultaneously exit the calls that I used to
initiate the hedge.  The net result would depend on many factors,
but it is a safe bet that I would be able to exit the entire
trade at a later time, preserving most of the profits that had
accrued when I initially decided to exit the trade.

Of course, this also highlights the risks of overtrading.  If
this had been a large trade (relative to my account size), I
might not have acted as rationally as I did.  Fear tends to grow
into panic quickly when you have a trade going against you and
you know that you have really placed too much capital at risk in
the trade.  And panic is the enemy of the rational
decision-making process.

What I've done here is highlight a successful trade that could
have been much more profitable without the challenge that I
described above. On the other hand, it could have ended up much
worse had I neglected to take decisive action.  This is one of
the key differences between hypothetical trading results and the
cold, hard reality of the fast-paced trading profession that we
have chosen.  Hopefully my description of the process I went
through, as well as some of my post-trade reflections sensitizes
you to some of the less-common pitfalls we face as traders.
Additionally, it is my hope that this little saga helps you to
better prepare yourself for an adverse trading climate in the
future, helping to better define your own exit strategy.

The thing that sticks in my mind as I wind this up is that
history tends to repeat, both on the micro and macro level.  I
am confident that the lessons learned from this trade will be
beneficial the next time a similar situation presents itself.
I wasn't a Boy Scout in my youth, but I do subscribe to the
motto of "Being Prepared"!  I fully expect there WILL BE a next
time and I will be prepared.  

Have a great week!


Mark


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

THE SECTOR BEAT - 6/17
by Leigh Stevens

Some of the weakest sectors of recent weeks such as the Biotech 
and Internet stocks were the strongest today, as traders decided 
that enough was enough and went on a bargain-hunting binge.  The 
Semiconductors were a key group to help boost Nasdaq.  The 
recovery in the Bank and Broker sectors were key to a strong 
rebound in the Financial Index - this in turn helped boost the 
S&P. Very few solid and sustained rallies occur in the NYSE 
market without the participation of the "money" stocks.  

UPDATES ON FOLLOWING SECTORS below - 
Amex Composite (and Russell 2000) small cap sectors; Brokers; 
Cyclical Index; Forest Products; High Tech index; Defense stocks; 
Gold stocks; Internet Index; Oil Services; Oil sector; Software 
Index; Semiconductors; Telecoms; Transportation average 


HIGHER ON THE DAY ON Friday - 


 


DOWN ON THE DAY on Friday - 

HARDLY ANY "RED INK" TODAY AND THEY WERE TWO SECTORS THAT BOTH 
REFLECT PRECIOUS METALS - AMAZING!



 

Not acting so "precious" these days.....

SECTOR HIGHLIGHT -
Biotechnology Index ($BTK.X)
STOCKS: ABGX; ADRX; AFFX; AMGN; BGEN; CELG; CEPH; CHIR; CRA; DNA; 
ENZN; GENZ; GILD; HGSI; ICOS; IDPH; IMCL; IMNX; INCY; MEDI; MLNM; 
MYGN; PDLI; TARO; TEVA; VRTX; XOMA

Not jumping immediately into the Biotech HOLDR's was costly as 
there was not price dip at all on the opening.  Will likely 
cancel the recommendation unless correction develops very soon.

PRIOR COMMENTS: Only bullish technical aspect to Biotech chart 
was RSI divergence, as the Relative Strength Index did not 
"confirm" recent price low.  Needs close back above 375 to 
reverse. Bounced from the low end of a long-standing downtrend 
channel and may follow through for a while.  



 

Closing move above 375 still is key to turnaround. Next 
resistance: 420 area.  

TRADE RECOMMENDATIONS & REVIEW - 

NEW TRADE(S) - 
Buy BBH, Biotech HOLDR's at 80.50 or less; Stop: 76.70
Close: 87.70 - 6/17 - Open: 84.9
Objective: 93 or higher 
TRADE TYPE: High Risk 
RATIONALE: Biotech has retreated to low end of downtrend channel 
and is oversold; play is for a bounce, back up to resistance in 
mid channel 

TRADE LIQUIDATIONS - 

STOPPED OUT ON LONG SMALL CAP iSHARES - Friday, 6/14
Exited IJS iShares, S&P 600 Value, long at 90.9 - sold at 87.00 
on 87.3 stop
OR - alternatively, one of either: 
IJT iShares, S&P 600 Growth long at 74.85 - sold at 71.60 on 
72.00 stop
IWM iShares, Russell 2000 Index, long at 93.80 - at 89.60 on 
89.70 stop
TRADE NOTE: Caught in extreme volatility of Friday and stopped 
out on opening. All closed well above opening levels which 
exceeded support levels slightly, then rebounded. Those still 
long, use suggested stops on close-only basis; i.e., exit only on 
closes below stop points. Will consider reentry if the group 
exhibits bottoming action ahead.  

OPEN POSITIONS - NONE  

SECTOR REVIEW - 

Airline Index ($XAL.X)
STOCKS: ALK; AMR; AWA; CAL; DAL; FRNT; KLM; LUV; NWAC; U; UAL

PRIOR COMMENTS: Close under 76.00 suggests possibility 
that XAL could move to next potential support around 70. 

The weak get weaker! Airlines fell sharply when XAL fell under 
prior "line" of support at 75.3 and closed near its low at 72, at 
next support; if 72 is pierced, next lower support looks like 65-
66 area. Resistance is at 74-75. Sector remains under pressure - 
flying is a drag these days and summer driving is in vogue. 
Business travelers haven't come back in force either.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/16

Amex Composite Index ($XAX.X)

PRIOR COMMENTS: The small cap index rebounded from support in the 
897-900 area, after having retraced about 50% of its strong rally 
from its Sept. bottom, in some contrast to the main indices and 
big cap stocks many of which got to at or near their prior lows 
at the September "panic" bottom. Strong follow through suggests 
bottom is in place - overhead resistance now at 931. Support in 
the 900 area. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Bank Index ($BKX.X)
STOCKS: BAC; BBT; BK; C; CMA; FBF; FITB; GDW; JPM; KEY; KRB; MEL; 
NCC; NTRS; ONE; PNC; SOTR; STI; STT; USB; WB; WFC; WM; ZION

PRIOR COMMENTS: Significant double top in place in 916-918 area; 
well under its 200-day moving average; downside target to 830 was 
exceeded; possible that BKX could retest Feb. lows in 780 area. 
Strong recent rebound, after index exceeded a 75% retracement of 
Sept - March rally.  Bullish action if sector can close back 
above 845. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/16

Biotechnology Index ($BTK.X)
STOCKS: ABGX; ADRX; AFFX; AMGN; BGEN; CELG; CEPH; CHIR; CRA; DNA; 
ENZN; GENZ; GILD; HGSI; ICOS; IDPH; IMCL; IMNX; INCY; MEDI; MLNM; 
MYGN; PDLI; TARO; TEVA; VRTX; XOMA

PRIOR COMMENTS: Only bullish technical - RSI divergence, as it 
did not "confirm" recent price low.  Needs close back above 375 
to reverse. Bounced from the low end of a long-standing downtrend 
channel and may follow through for a while. 

** SEE CHART ABOVE IN SECTOR HIGHLIGHT **  

Closing move above 375 still is key to turnaround. Next 
resistance: 420 area.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/17 

Broker Dealer Index ($XBD.X)
PRIOR COMMENTS: Bullish Price/RSI divergence set up at recent low 
at bottom of downtrend channel.  XBD needs to get back above 436 
to reverse. 

The Broker Index appears to have hit at least a temporary bottom 
given "touch" to low end of longstanding downtrend channel. 
Rebounded to resistance in 435-436 area; next resistance: 465 - 
472 zone.
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Computer Technology Index  ($XCI.X)
STOCKS: to be listed 

Possible double bottom in 580 area - if this level is taken out, 
then next potential support looks to be at the Sept. lows in the 
541 area. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/13 

Computer Boxmaker Index ($BMX.X) 
STOCKS: AAPL; CPQ; DELL; GTW; HWP; IBM; SNE; SUNW; UIS; VRTS  

Possible double low is setting up in the 83 area. If this gives 
way, BMX may be headed to 74-75 area, where sector bottomed in 
Sept.
LAST UPDATE: 6/13

Cyclical Index; Morgan Stanley; ($CYC.X)
STOCKS: AA; C; CAT; CSX; DCN; DD; DE; DOW; ETN; F; FDX; GP; GT; 
HON; HWP; IP; IR; JCI; KRI; MAS; MMM; MOT; PBI; PD; PPG; PTV; R; 
S; UTX; WHR; X 

PRIOR COMMENTS: New closing low in 551 area suggested that the 
cyclical index was headed to convergence with its 200-day moving 
average in the 534 area. 

The Index rebounded strongly after approaching its 200-
day MA. Following this, cleared prior lows in 550 area. Next 
resistance: 570-572 area. May have hit bottom
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Defense Index; Amex ($DFI.X)
STOCKS: ATK; BA; COL; DRS; EASI; EDO; ERJ; ESL; FLIR; GD; INVN; 
ITT; LLL; LMT; NOC; OSIS; RTN; SSSS; TDY; TTN; UIC

PRIOR COMMENTS: "Bear flag" pattern looked to be forming, 
suggesting another downswing ahead. Continue to have objective to 
lower levels, perhaps back to 600 area. Close above 653-655 is 
needed to reverse downtrend. 

Support looks like 623 at recent lows, then 615 area.   
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Disk Drive Index ($DDX.X)
STOCKS: ADIC; ADPT; DSS; FLSH; HTCH; IOM; MXO; RDRT; SNDK; STK

The Disk Drive Sector has been very week, with continued downside 
momentum - next objective is to the 75 area; then, if exceeded, 
we could be looking at a 100%, "round-trip" retracement to the 
September lows at 59-60.
LAST UPDATE: 6/6

Fiber Optics Index ($FOP.X)
STOCKS: ADCT; ALA; AMCC; AVNX; CIEN; CORV; CSCO; FNSR; GLW; JDSU; 
JNPR; LU; MRVC; NEWP; NT; NUFO; ONIS; PMCS; Q; SCMR; TLAB; VTSS; 
WCG

Continues to make new lows, and I have no downside price target 
for the sector index. The sector is very oversold, but extreme 
overcapacity continues to weigh on the group.  A close above 78 
is needed to signal a reversal.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/6

Financial Index; NYSE ($NF.X)
STOCKS: This index is composed of all the financial stocks on the 
NYSE; e.g., banks, insurance, etc. 

Financial Index as acceleration downside momentum and appears 
heading toward the 552 area, where NF bottomed in Feb. Close 
above 580 is needed to reverse the (down) trend. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/13

Forest & Paper Products Sector Index ($FPP.X)
PRIOR COMMENTS: A key level to watch is the prior (down) swing 
low in the 345 area - this was also the level of price peak in 
Dec. and the again in late-January.  

Index held above important prior lows in the 345-345 area. 
Resistance: 362, then 370. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Gold & Silver Sector Index ($XAU.X)
STOCKS: ABX; AEM; AU; FCX; GOLD; HGMCY; MDG; NEM; PD; PDG; SIL

PRIOR COMMENTS: 75.00 is the next key support and represents a 
50% retracement. The decisive downside penetration of the March-
May up trendline, was the telling reversal event. XAU needs to 
climb back above 77 on closing basis to suggest that bullish 
trend might be back on track. 

Retreat to below 75 continues bearish pattern - potential support 
at 71, then 67.   
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Health Providers Index; Morgan Stanley ($RXH.X)

This sector represents the hospitals, urgent care facilities and 
the like - the health care providers that bill for health 
services. 

RXH has been "hugging" the 50-day moving average, which has been 
acting as a sort of curved trendline.  Sector looks like upside 
momentum has slowed considerably and does not appear to have 
enough strength to pierce its April peaks in the 368 area.  If 
they can't take them higher, the tendency has been to take stock 
groups lower at some point.  Loss of momentum tends to reach a 
point where prices start to fall due to too few buyers left to 
keep the stocks going up.  If so, fund managers like to book some 
profits and rotate into the next promising sector.  

Key support is in the 343 area - a close below this level, 
suggest a trend reversal, with potential back to 325. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/13

Healthcare Index; Morgan Stanley ($HMO.X)
STOCKS: AET; AHG; ATH; CAH; CI; FHCC; HUM; MME; OHP; OPTN; PHSY; 
TGH; THC; UNH; WLP

PRIOR COMMENTS - 
Saw potential of top and downside reversal as suggested by the 
bearish price/RSI divergence. A close below 620 should provide 
initial evidence for a downside reversal, but "confirmation" 
would be on a close under 620.

Reversal could be in progress based on recent price action and 
possible double top. However, break of trendline is the 
"confirming" event.  More time is needed to assess this one. HMO 
needs to regain prior high to suggest that at least interim top 
is not forming.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/16

High Tech Index; Morgan Stanley ($MSH.X)
PRIOR COMMENTS: The Index attempting to rally from the low end of 
its downtrend channel.



 

Upside follow through after MSH got to low end of channel is 
potentially bullish for the near-term, but Index needed to regain 
50-day MA in 397 area before getting too excited about tech. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/17 

Internet Index; CBOE ($INX.X)
AMZN; AOL; CHKP; CMGI; CNET; CSCO; DCLK; EBAY; ELNK; EXPE; FMKT; 
HLTH; HOMS; INKT; INSP; JNPR; OVER; RNWK; TMCS; YHOO

As with the High-tech Index, the Internet sector has had recent 
strong rebound from low end of its downtrend channel.  Charts 
look quite similar. Key overhead resistance is 95-96, at its 50-
day MA. Rebound to, but not above, is about best I see for this 
sector currently.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Natural Gas Index  ($XNG)

Networking Index ($NWX.X)

Oil Index; CBOE ($OIX.X) - 
STOCKS: AHC; BP; CVX; KMG; MRO; OXY; P; RD; SUN; TOT; UCL; XOM.

PRIOR COMMENTS: Rebounded from important chart and 200-day MA 
support levels.

Strong follow through from rally that began at key support at 
306. Resistance at 321 needed to suggest move was going to be 
back up to re-test "line" of resistance at recent highs in the 
330 area. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Oil Service Sector Index ($OSX.X)
STOCKS: BSI; BJS; CAM; GLBL; HAL; NBR; NE; RDC; RIG; SII; SLB; 
TDW; VRC; WFT

PRIOR COMMENTS: Holding prior lows from April - may be a buy 
again. 

Good upside follow through on gap higher, tends to "confirm" 
support in the 93-95 area and may be low end of its trading range 
for now.  Resistance at 103, at 50-day MA - close above this 
level needed to suggest that a move might be underway back toward 
high end of its range around 110-112.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Pharmaceutical Index ($DRG.X) - 
STOCKS: AHP; AMGN; AZN; BMY; FRX; GSK; IVX; JNJ; KG; LLY; MRK; 
PFE; PHA; SGP

Retail Index; S&P - CBOE ($RLX.X)
STOCKS: ABS; AZO; BBBY; BBY; BLI; CC; COST; CVS; DDS; DG; FD; 
GPS; HD; JCP; JWN; KM; KR; KSS; LOW; LTD; MAY; ODP; RSH; S; SHW; 
SPLS; SWY; TGT; TIF; TJX; TOY; WAG; WIN; WMT


Russell 2000 Index ($RUT.X)

PRIOR COMMENTS: The Russell 2000 strongly rebounded from a key 
support area, having retraced around 50% of its strong rally from 
its Sept. bottom - in major contrast to the main indices and big 
cap stocks many of which got down to at or near their prior 
bottoms. Support: 448-450; Resistance: 470-471, then 482 area, at 
top of downside chart gap. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/17  

Semiconductor Sector Index ($SOX.X)
STOCKS: AMAT; AMD; CMOS; CREE; IDTI; INTC; KLAC; LLTC; LSCC; LSI; 
MOT; MU; NSM; NVDA; NVLS; PMCS; RMBS; TER; TXN; XLNX

PRIOR COMMENTS: Completed 75% retracement - SOX needs to hold 
425-426 on closing basis to suggest that it may have reached a 
bottom and is NOT necessarily going to re-test its Sept. bottom 
around 350.

Good upside follow after new low for the move - a possible "bear 
trap" reversal suggests that SOX may re-test near overhead 
resistance in the 470 area - a close over this level, and ability 
to find support in this area on subsequent pullbacks, is needed 
to suggest there is potential for more than a "dead cat" bounce 
here. 
LAST UPDATE: 6/17

Software Index; Goldman Sachs ($GSO.X)
STOCKS: ERTS; INFA; INKT; INTU; ISSX; ITWO; IWOV; JDEC; MANU; 
MENT; MSFT; MUSE; NATI; NOVL; NTIQ; ORCL; PMTC; PRGN; PRSF; PSFT; 
RATL; RETK; REY; RHAT; RNWK; SEBL; SNPS; SY; SYMC; TIBX; VIGN; 
VRTS; WEBM; WIND; YHOO

PRIOR COMMENTS: Bullish Price/RSI divergence - and possible 
exhaustion gap - signaled potential to reverse to the upside, but 
move above 120 needed to suggest more upside. Bullish falling 
"wedge" pattern is also a potentially bullish indication for a 
sector reversal ahead. 

Some upside follow through to recent upside reversal after new 
low (for the move) in 110 area, which is now key support. 
Microsoft is leading the way - but other stocks in the index need 
to also get in gear for the group to rally much further.  
LAST UPDATE: 6/17 

Telecoms Index; No. American ($XTC.X)
STOCKS: AT; BLS; FON; LU; LVLT; MCIT; NT; NXTL; Q; SBC; T; TMX; 
VZ; WCOM

Group has looked like the stocks were going to find support - 
however, the index may have found a "resting" place around recent 
lows at the low end of its downtrend channel in 424 area.
LAST UPDATE: 6/17 

Transportation Average; Dow Jones ($TRAN)

Airborne Inc. (ABF); Alexander & Balwin (ALEX); AMR Corp (AMR); 
Burlington Northern (BNI); CNE Transportation (CNF); CSX Corp 
(CSX); Delta (DAL); FedEx Corp. (FDX); GATX Corp (GMT); J.B.Hunt 
Transport Services (JBHT); Norfolk Southern (NSC); Northwest 
Airlines (NWAC); Roadway Express (ROAD); Ryder System (R); 
Southwest Airlines (LUV); UAL Corp. (UAL); Union Pacific (UNP); 
US Airways (U); USFreightways Corp. (USFC); Yellow Corp. (YELL) 

PRIOR COMMENTS: The DJ Transportation average has been "basing" 
above its 200-day moving average, performing better than 
the Dow Industrials in this regard.  

TRAN has been failing to regain closes above 2738, at its 50-day 
average but has closed above its March-May down trendline on 
recent rally. Chart picture continues to look bullish as long as 
2620-2622 is not exceeded to the downside.   
LAST UPDATE: 6/17


Utility Sector Index ($UTY.X)

A trading range market like this is what momentum or 
"overbought/oversold" oscillators are very effective for, as when 
prices retreat back to such a well-defined "line" of support AND 
the Stochastic, RSI or MACD indicators are registering oversold, 
it usually represents a good trading opportunity.  Once again, 
the UTY sector index rebounded from the low end of its range in 
the 304-305 area.  328-330 is resistance, then 335.  

Wireless Telecom Sector Index  ($YLS.X)


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                   Monday 06-17-2002
Copyright 2001, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


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*****************
STOP-LOSS UPDATES
*****************

BGEN - call
Adjust from $38.50 up to $40

OHP - call
Adjust from $47 up to $47.75


*************
DROPPED CALLS
*************

None


************
DROPPED PUTS
************

CB $73.11 +2.81 (+2.81) Insurance stocks were one of best
performing areas on Monday as investors propelled the broad
markets significantly higher.  Certainly there was a
short-covering component to the rally, and volume was less
than convincing, but that didn't stop CB from gaining 4% to
close just fractionally above our $73 stop.  Closing at its high
of the day is not a good sign for the bears and with our violated
stop, CB is a drop tonight.  Use any weakness in the morning
to negotiate a more favorable exit from the play.

MMC $96.25 +3.70 (+3.70) After its sharp fall from grace in
recent weeks, shares of MMC were deeply oversold and prudence
demanded caution to protect against the possibility of
short-covering bounce.  As it turned out, Friday's rebound was
just the opening volley, as the stock responded positively to an
upgrade this morning from Morgan Stanley.  After gapping higher,
the stock continued to push higher, ending near its best level of
the session and right near our $96.50 stop.  Despite the fact
that our stop wasn't taken out at the close, we are dropping the
play due to the fact that MMC closed near its high of the day on
very heavy volume.

SPW $127.95 +6.74 (+6.74) Short-covering hit shares of SPW this
morning, raising the stock to just below our $127 stop by the
middle of the session.  It was looking like the rally would relax
going into the close until a sharp surge in buying volume in the
final hour pushed the stock as high as $130.  SPW fell back a bit
in the final 15 minutes, but the fact that it still held above
our $127 stop leaves us no choice but to pull the plug and move
the play to the drop list tonight.


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and clicking on the link to the book on its home page.

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**********************
PLAY OF THE DAY - CALL
**********************

BGEN – Biogen, Inc. $44.01 +1.59 (+1.59 this week)

Biogen is a biopharmaceutical company primarily engaged in the
business of developing, manufacturing and marketing drugs for
human healthcare.  BGEN currently derives revenues from sales
of its Avonex product for the treatment of relapsing forms of
multiple sclerosis and from royalties on worldwide sales by
the company's licensees of a number of other patented products.
Other products include certain forms of alpha interferon,
hepatitis B vaccines and hepatitis B diagnostic test kits.  In
order to maintain its leadership role in the industry, BGEN
continues to have an active research and development program.

Most Recent Write-Up

The recent plunge in the Biotech sector (BTK.X) has gotten a lot
of play in the media in recent weeks and judging by the strong
rebound off the lows on Friday, it may be the bulls' turn in the
spotlight.  While there is no doubt that the sector is very weak,
it is quite possibly due for a sustained oversold rebound in the
near-term.  Aside from the current circus surrounding the alleged
misdeeds at IMCL, few firms in the sector have received more
attention lately than BGEN.  After shooting higher on May 24th
on the heels of its Amevive approval from the FDA advisory
committee, that move was reversed on June 7th on the company's
downward revision of Avonex Sales.  Then Thursday night, the
company received a 'Complete Response' letter from the FDA on
Amevive, which included a request for further clarification of
data previously submitted.  The initial response was negative
driving the stock down to the $37 in the after-hours session
before further analysis revealed that the request was not a
negative.  BGEN shot higher at the open on Friday, gaining nearly
$3 to end at the high of the day on volume that nearly doubled
the ADV.  Can you say volatility?  So can we, and given the
strong performance on Friday, BGEN looks like it could lead the
BTK index on a decent rally next week.  The stock came to rest
right at recent resistance near $42.50, and a breakout above $43
could lead to filling the gap up to the $47.50 level.  An
intraday dip near the $40 level would make for an even better
entry, provided it is followed by solid buying volume.  We are
initiating coverage with our stop set at $38.50, the site of
last week's intraday lows.

Comments

Things were looking up for the Biotechnology sector (BTK.X)
last Friday, as the BTK led the broad market recovery, helped
along by the positive news from BGEN.  AMGN helped to extend the
rally on Monday with an upgrade from AG Edwards.  Benefiting from
the continued positive sector movement, BGEN tacked on 3.75% to
close just above $44, moving solidly into the gap left behind in
early June.  Now that the stock has moved into the gap, there is
a strong likelihood that it will at least move to the top of that
gap near $47.50.  The stock now appears to have strong support
just above $42 and an intraday pullback near that level would
make for an attractive entry into the play.  Alternatively,
target a rally through near-term resistance ($44.50) for entering
new momentum-based positions, so long as the BTK continues its
advance.  Raise stops tonight to $40.

BUY CALL JUL-40 BGQ-GH OI=1934 at $5.50 SL=3.50
BUY CALL JUL-45*BGQ-GI OI=6177 at $2.20 SL=1.00
BUY CALL OCT-45 BGQ-JI OI=3443 at $4.80 SL=3.00
BUY CALL OCT-50 BGQ-JJ OI=8657 at $2.80 SL=1.50

Average Daily Volume = 4.73 mln



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