Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 01/29/2003

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 01-29-2003
Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

In Section One:

Wrap: Hard to Predict
Futures Wrap: Forecasting the Future
Index Trader Wrap: There's something about those WEEKLY S1's
Weekly Fund Family Profile: California Investment Trust Fund Group
Options 101: Volatility Overload?

Updated on the site tonight:
Swing Trader Game Plan: Relief Rally

Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
01-29-2003                   High    Low     Volume Advance/Decl
DJIA     8110.71 +  21.87  8158.02  7945.00   1855 mln  1081/727
NASDAQ   1358.06 +  15.88  1363.31  1320.35   1466 mln   961/459
S&P 100   437.54 +  2.89    440.16  427.95    totals    2042/1286
S&P 500   864.36 +  5.82    868.72  845.94
RUS 2000  374.84 +  1.67    375.27  367.16
DJ TRANS 2163.38 -  2.06   2177.24 2121.67
VIX        35.22 -  0.30    38.28   35.20
VIXN       43.64 -  3.09    47.19   43.39
Put/Call Ratio 0.81

Hard to Predict
by Steven Price

Rather than predicting the next move in an extremely jittery
environment, it is probably best to simply highlight just how
reactive the current market is to a number of issues. It is
getting tough to predict market direction in the current
environment.  With so many earnings reports and political events
playing tug of war, hindsight is playing a bigger role in
evaluating moves than foresight.  For instance, I talked about
the possibility that yesterday afternoon's rally being just short
covering ahead of the President's speech.  When we opened down
sharply, that's what it appeared to be. We really got no new news
from the President, other than a new deadline of February 5 when
Colin Powell will present evidence to the UN, yet we opened with
a triple-digit Dow drop today. It seemed to tell us that outside
of the news event, the market sentiment remained down.  An
earnings miss and profit warning from Kraft didn't do much to
change that impression.  However, what we saw later in the day
indicated that Iraq is still the heaviest weight on the markets.
In fact, shortly after the Iraq announcement mid-day that it
would pro-actively cooperate with inspectors, we got a big rally,
erasing all of the day's losses. So maybe the cost of war is
being factored in by enough investors that we need to very
careful trying to short such a jittery market.  It also raises
the possibility that investors are simply waiting to hear that
war is behind us before getting back in from the long side. A
look at the charts still shows a market that is heading south and
there has been little on the economic front to cause a bounce.
Today's rally stalled at Dow 8158 and that still qualifies as a
failed rally below the head and shoulders breakdown level at

Of course, Iraq is just one of many news concerns and earnings
reports this week and even though the indication is that market
sentiment remains down, we really didn't get much of a sell-off
below the point we were at prior to the speech, so it is not as
though investors are running for the hills.  To the contrary, we
are bouncing repeatedly in a support area that indicates the big
move down following the rally during the first couple weeks of
January has exhausted itself and we are seeing a hard fought
battle between bears and bottom feeders.  Those traders/investors
who felt they had missed the December bottom when the market
rallied to start the year apparently still believe they are
getting a deal at current prices.  I'm not sure if they are
right, but so far we haven't seen anything to make us think there
is another big rally in the immediate future.  It seems the best
news for investors, which was the President's non-taxation of
dividends idea, is behind us.  As are the beginning of the year
retirement account contributions. The earnings reports we are
getting are positive for the most part for the fourth quarter.
However, the guidance going forward has been shaky and that's
really what we are concerned with - future action. Or at least
how the market will react to how it perceives the future.

An intraday chart of the Dow shows just how volatile and reactive
the market is in the current high-charged environment.  We took
out both Monday's low, and then made it all up and took out
Tuesday's high.  While it seems we are headed lower based on the
technical damage we've seen to the previously strong support
levels, trying to day trade the current market for more than a
few points has rarely been harder to do.

Intraday Chart of the Dow

Daily Chart of the Dow

The techs have also continued to show resilience after the big
drop of the last two weeks.  The last three days have seen the
Nasdaq Composite repeatedly test support in the 1320 range. That
level served as support on the rollover from the November 6 high
of 1419, just prior to rally up to 1521.  That November 6 high
coincides with the highs in the Dow, SPX and OEX that I have
pointed out in previous columns as a possible left shoulder in a
head and shoulders pattern.  The fact that the pullback support
level in the COMP has held is significant for one big reason - it
diverges from what we have seen in the other indices.  The Dow,
OEX and SPX have all broken through those previous pullback
support levels to the downside.  The COMP and NDX have both held
above those levels.  In fact, in many instances, the techs have
led the market over the last several years and the fact that they
are holding that support should throw up a red flag for the
doomsayers (myself included) that predicted another swoon
following the support break in the broader indices.

Chart of the COMP

The Semiconductor Index (SOX) also broke out from its range of
the past few days, bouncing off support that it appeared on the
verge of breaking.  The 280 support level was broken on a closing
basis, but just barely, on Monday.  The chip stocks have since
found buyers, forming a small saucer bottom and look intent on
testing prior resistance at 300. Part of the reason behind the
move was an upgrade to chipmaker Applied Materials (AMAT) +3.3%,
which was upped from neutral to buy at UBS Warburg.  Chip
equipment maker Cymer (+4.8%) also released earnings after the
bell on Tuesday.  The company posted a narrower than expected
loss and raised revenue guidance going forward.  The SOX finished
the day up at 290, but it will take a decisive move back above
300 to signal a trend reversal.

Chart of the SOX

The FOMC concluded its two-day meeting today, with no change in
interest rates, as expected. It also left its bias unchanged,
saying that risks are balanced between inflation and economic
weakness. The FOMC statement said that, "Oil price premiums and
other aspects of geopolitical risks have reportedly fostered
continued restraint on spending and hiring by businesses."  It
also said that it expects the economic climate to improve as
those risks are lifted. Basically the Fed is stepping out of the
way with interest rates at a 40-year low and allowing the Iraq
situation to work itself out.

The Market Volatility Index (VIX), which has mirrored the range
bound activity of the broader markets, but broken out as they
broke down, is also on the verge of pulling back below the
previous resistance line.  That line could now serve as support,
reflecting continuing fears for more downside.  If we are truly
ready for a bounce, it is likely we will see the VIX move back
below 35%, as the fear abates. So far, however, we are holding
above that level, even on Tuesday's bounce and Wednesday's
intraday recovery from the big drop.  The VIX is based on the
premium levels in OEX options.  Because the OEX is heavily
traded, it generally takes quite a bit of order flow to move the
VIX and reflects the activity of large institutions. If the VIX
reflects more fear than the big boys feel there needs to be, then
we see the VIX drop, even if the market does not move
significantly higher that day.  It almost always drops on big
moves to the upside as institutions reduce the cost of long
positions by selling out of the money premiums.  However, if it
drops to the point where it looks cheap, compared to current
market risk levels, then we also see support.   By holding above
the 35 level, which at one point institutions were willing to
sell, it tells us that the big players still have downside
concerns. Today's close at 35.22 is still above that mark,
although just barely.

Chart of the VIX

Deciphering what we saw today was no easier than it was
yesterday, or the day before.  We know that Iraqi developments
will continue to lead to big market swings.  Between now and
February 5, when Colin Powell makes his UN presentation, we may
see some digesting, without any real developments.  Of course,
that's what we thought today until mid-day, as well.  After the
bell, AOL-Time Warner missed forecasts and announced the biggest
corporate loss ever, at $45.5 billion, as it wrote down the value
of America On-Line.  It also announced the departure of Ted
Turner. If today was simply a relief rally following the tension
of the State of the Union address and FOMC meeting, we may get
yet another rollover tomorrow. However, shorts who decide to act
on that rollover below the aforementioned H&S breakdown level
(which I still believe is the favorable play) need to keep in
mind both the possibility of unpredictable action from world
events and the fact that the COMP and NDX are still holding there
November support levels. To the upside, playing long will have
plenty of resistance between Dow 8200 and 8400 to get through, so
traders may want to play on partial positions over 8200 until
that congestion is cleared on a rally.  If one thing is certain,
it is that we are still in one of the toughest trading
environments in quite some time.


Forecasting the Future
By John Seckinger

All three futures contracts are closer to being unchanged on the
week than one might think; nevertheless, there are some clues on
direction going forward.

Wednesday, January 29th at 4:15 P.M.

Contract      Last    Net Change    High        Low       Volume

Dow Jones    8110.71   +21.87     8158.02     7945.00
YM03H        8080.00   +35.00     8140.00     7880.00     30,611
Nasdaq-100   1016.56   +15.15     1022.98      980.92
NQ03H        1013.50   +15.00     1025.00      980.00    319,688
S&P 500       864.36    +5.82      868.72      845.86
ES03H         860.75    +6.25      867.75      836.00    837,227

Contract         S2         S1       Pivot        R1         R2

Dow Jones      7858.23    7984.48   8071.25    8197.50    8284.27
YM03H          7773.00    7927.00   8033.00    8187.00    8293.00
Nasdaq-100      964.76     990.66   1006.82    1032.72    1048.88
NQ03H           961.25     987.25   1006.25    1032.25    1051.25
S&P 500         836.79     850.58    859.65     873.44     882.51
ES03H           823.00     842.00    854.75     873.75     886.50

Weekly Levels

Contract         S2         S1        Pivot        R1         R2

YM03H         7748.00    7933.00    8271.00    8456.00    8794.00
NQ03H          962.75     981.25    1011.25    1029.75    1059.75
ES03H          825.25     842.75     875.00     892.50     924.75

Monthly Levels (December's High, Low, and Close)

Contract        S2         S1        Pivot       R1         R2

YM03H         7726.00    8028.00    8524.00    8826.00    9322.00
NQ03H          861.75     924.25    1041.75    1104.25    1221.75
ES03H          814.75     846.75     900.25     932.50     985.75

YM03H = E-mini Dow $5 futures
NQ03H = E-mini NDX 100 futures
ES03H = E-mini SP500 futures


Note:  The 03H suffix stands for 2003, March, and will change
as the exchanges shift the contract month.  The contract months
are March, June, September, and December.  The volume stats are
from Q-charts.


Before we begin, let us take a look at Jim Brown's day in the
Futures Monitor.  Signal recaps for the day:

Short 846.00, exit 848.00, change -2.00
Short 852.50, exit 846.50, change +6.00
Short 850.50, exit 852.75, change -2.25
Short 851.50, exit 852.00, change -0.50
Short 856.50, exit 856.50, change +0.00
Short 859.00, exit 858.00, change +1.00
Short 859.00, exit 860.50, change -1.50

Total for the day = +0.75
Total for the week = +2.75

For more information on Jim's posts, please go to the following
link and download the current market monitor.  If you already
have the most recent version, simply go to the Futures Monitor
Post on the upper left hand portion of the applet.


The March E-mini S&P 500 Contract (ES03H)

Describing Wednesday's session as volatile is an understatement.
Tuesday's mentioned levels (839, range from 842.75 to 846.75, and
865) were all tested, but under extreme conditions.  I think the
first two levels should keep their significance going forward,
but I am moving the 842.75 level down to 842.  This range from
842.00 to 846.75 is a compilation of the monthly, weekly, and
daily S1 level (now at 842.00).  As the weekly chart below
illustrates, the ES contract found support at its 61.8% level
(839), and then proceeded to settle at the next retracement area
higher at 861.25.  Not only is the weekly pattern showing a
candlestick "doji" formation (read: indecision), but settling
also on the 50% retracement area should add to such indecision.
The 50 Weekly EMA is higher at 866, and the 38.2% retracement
area is above at 883 - which comes in play in the next chart.

Chart of ES03H, Weekly

Looking at a 120-minute chart of the ES contract, Wednesday's
settlement is above Thursday's pivot; however, there is still
that sense of a neutral close.  Going forward, I will look for
resistance between 874 and 878, as well as from 886 to 889.  On
the downside, support is felt at 842 to 846.75, and then at the
839 area.  As far as the zone from 859 to 862 (note: it
incorporates the Monthly 50% retracement area shown in the chart
above), I would watch to see if 862 becomes support or 859 turns
into resistance.  Then traders will have something to use during
a session.

Chart of ES03H, 120-minute chart

Bullish Percent of SPX: 47.90% and down one percent on Wednesday.
The column of O’s is now nine (Recent High at 64%, Low of
current column at 48).  This extra "O" should portend a move to
the 40% level.  Note:  In order to really look for a bottom, I
would like to see a move under 30%, followed by a row of "X's"
that takes the indicator back above this 30 area.  The bearish
price objective in the SPX, based on P&F analysis, is 750;
however, the SPX is currently in a column of X's with resistance
above from 880 to 885.

The March E-mini Nasdaq 100 Contract (NQ03H)

The daily retracement levels from 983 (50%) to 1024.50 (38.3%) in
the NQ contract worked rather well during the volatility seen on
Wednesday.  The 980 area was not broken, so looking for a move
down to the 200 EMA (currently at 960) will have to wait.  As the
daily chart below shows, the next area of solid resistance is
seen from 1030 to 1034.  It doesn't correspond with a daily
retracement area, so its significance will not be as great as the
area used for Wednesday.  If the 1034 area cannot contain buyers,
the next area of resistance is above at 1040 to 1043.  Support is
a little harder to dissect, but I do expect weakness if the daily
pivot of 1006.25 is taken out.

Chart of NQ03H, Daily

Looking at a 30-minute chart of the NQ contract, the bearish
regression channel was broken to the upside; however, I do see
similarities with the price action back at the 1035 area (read:
failure).  Weakness back under the pivot will put the NQ back in
this channel, and should get shorts looking for a move to S1 at
987.25.  I would be surprised if either R2 or S2 is hit on
Thursday, and I would play these areas responsively (buy low and
sell high).  Note the Bearish Divergence within the MACD

Chart of NQ03H, 30-minute

Bullish Percent for NDX:  This indicator fell 1% to 49% on
Wednesday, and this indicator continues to portend bears will be
selling rallies going forward.  Note:  The NDX will give a sell
signal at 975, according to P&F charts.

The March Mini-sized Dow Contract (YM03H)

The daily retracement area from 8152 to 7948 almost encompassed
Wednesday's range, and it is interesting that 8152 was NOT
tested.  I am leaning towards lower prices, but I would wait
until the pivot at 8033 is taken out first.  Support is still
seen near 7950, but how many times will this area be tested
before it fails?  Resistance looks good just under 8200, but I
don't have nearly the same conviction as with resistance from
8270 to the 8094 area.  Ideally, 8152 keeps a lid on enthusiasm;
however, this level just seems too close to Wednesday's
settlement.  Note:  The weekly pivot comes in at 8271.  On a
daily chart (not shown), I will not call today's move a "hammer"
pattern (portending a bottom) because the 'real body' is not that
close to the top end of the daily range.  This is my

Chart of YM03H, 120-minute

Bullish Percent of Dow Jones:  The bullish percent for the Dow
was unchanged on Wednesday at 36.67%, and the column of O’s is
still 11 deep.  The Bullish Percent indicator still has
intermediate bearish implications.  It does indicate that bears
will look to sell rallies and be aggressive on weakness as well.
Remember, a close underneath 30% should start to shift risk into
the bears' camp.  Stay tuned.  Note:  The DJIA, on a P&F chart,
added one more "O" on Wednesday and the contract now has a
bearish price objective of 7000.

Good Luck.

Questions are welcomed,

John Seckinger


There's something about those WEEKLY S1's

What looked to be "the darkest hour" for the major indexes in
this morning's trade, when the indexes were trading their session
lows, had bulls pulling a white rabbit from their hat in the form
of a recovery for a third-straight session at their weekly S1
levels of support.

True!  The Dow Industrials (INDU), which turned a 143-point loss
into a 21-point gain by session's end did trade 10-points below
its weekly S1 level of support for less than 5-minutes, but the
5-minute bar chart interval never closed below that weekly
support level and a rally took hold.  For most of us, looking at
5-minute charts is like splitting hairs, but for bulls that
pulled the proverbial white rabbit from the black top hat, they'd
say "splitting hares."

This sounds totally "ridiculous," as an observation of
importance, and I might not argue too long on such a point, but
this type of action certainly hints that there is indeed "some
type" of buying, most likely computerized, at the various weekly
S1 levels of support in the indexes.  As these weekly S1 levels
of support hold for a third consecutive session, then we as
traders begin to observe some type of support that may be
important, not only from an intra-day standpoint, but for the
remainder of the week.

I will say this.  It has been an observation of mine in recent
weeks (especially in the market monitor, which caters more toward
short-term traders), that even on a short-term basis, stocks as
well as index futures and the indexes themselves have "slopped"
on one side or the other of a support or resistance level for
minutes at a time, but failure to close above a level of
resistance or below a level of support on the 5-minute interval
chart has seemed to be hint of some type of computerized
institutional trading taking place at the level, where the level
from pivot analysis triggers the computer program.

Other than the weekly S1 levels coming into play today to support
any theory of why the indexes reversed their losses, I can come
up with only two other observations during that time.  You can be
the judge as to their impact on how the major indexes traded.

Not long after the Dow Industrials traded their low of the
session (10:50 AM EST), Dow component Philip Morris, I mean
Altria Group (NYSE:MO) $37.03 -3.51% reversed from its session
low of $35.70 at approximately 11:00 PM EST when it reported Q4
quarterly pro forma earnings (excluding charges) of $0.93 per
share, which was a penny better than consensus estimates.  The
company then gave forward guidance for its fiscal 2003 of $2.60-
$2.70, which was a range below consensus of $2.71 per share.  In
my opinion, neither earnings or forward guidance could have
triggered a recovery in the indexes from their lows.

The other potential "reason" mentioned in today's intra-day
commentary was Iraq's response to President Bush's State of the
Union address.  Iraq said the U.N. inspections have turned up no
proof that it has any weapons of mass destruction and that the
Bush administration's beliefs that weapons of mass destruction
are held by Iraq, are misguided.

Here are tomorrow's daily pivot analysis numbers, along with the
weekly and monthly pivot analysis levels.  Only the daily levels
have been changed to reflect today's high, low and close.  I've
highlighted the WEEKLY S1 levels in blue to reflect current
support levels that appear to be in play the last 5-sessions.

Pivot Analysis Matrix

A quick review of tonight's pivot matrix shows little correlation
points between the daily, weekly and monthly pivot analysis
levels.  The "closest" points of correlation are perhaps found
between tomorrow's R1 in the OEX at 443 and the OEX's WEEKLY
pivot of 444.  Traders can review today's lows in the indexes and
make observations as to how close the DAILY lows came to this
WEEK's S1 support levels.  Only the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X)
1,016 and NASDAQ-100 Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) $25.10 were able
to hold a session close above their weekly pivots.

This may be an important observation for shorter-term traders to
monitor tomorrow.  The NASDAQ-100 has been a technically stronger
in recent weeks that the other major indexes, and ability to be
the "first" to close back above their weekly pivots is a sign of
near-term renewed leadership.  I would be watching the NDX and
QQQ closely tomorrow for strength/weakness above/below the weekly
pivots.  For strength, I'd be looking for NDX/QQQ leadership to
be followed by some type of "confirmation" move higher in the
other indexes, with the Dow Industrials most likely bringing up
the rear.

NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (QQQ) - 60-minute interval

There are some "levels" that show up a little better in the QQQ
60-minute chart than we can perhaps see from the daily interval
chart.  Subscribers have also asked to see a QQQ chart with the
weekly pivot analysis retracement similar to what we looked at in
the other major indexes last night.  As I type (07:41 PM EST),
the QQQ's are rather quiet and trading right at the $25.14 level.
Using the WEEKLY retracement, it would be my view that a bear in
the QQQ looks for WEEKLY R1 of $25.56 to hold resistance, and
that level does indeed have some correlation with the 60-minute
chart last week.  The ability for the QQQ to trade and close
above the $25.10 pivot adds a little bullishness to the Q's and
I'd monitor the $25.10 level as near-term support and potential
bids being found on weakness at $24.81.  I shorted some
technology stocks on this morning's first couple of hours rally
with "mixed" results, and at day's end surmise that I should have
stayed on the sidelines with bearish trades today.

In last night's wrap I highlighted the $26.18 level on the daily
interval bar chart as "major resistance," and with the QQQ having
traded today's DIALY R2 of $25.38, then I make note of tomorrow's
DAILY R2 of $26.09 being close to my deemed "major resistance"
level in the Q's.

Today's action saw a net loss of 1 stock to a reversing point and
figure sell signal as the NASDAQ-100 Bullish % ($BPNDX) fell 1%
to 49% and remains in "bear confirmed" status.

S&P 500 Index Chart - Daily Interval

The SPX added 5-points after the FOMC decision on interest rates
and that additional 5-point gain was enough to have the SPX
showing gains for two consecutive sessions!  That's the first
back-to-back session gains for January.  Positive economic news
and a break above today's high would most likely fuel a short-
covering type rally back into the 875.50-886.50 zone, and with
the beating bulls have taken in recent weeks, bears won't mind a
rally entry point back into that range.  A close above 879.92 on
Friday's close would give some 2003 hope to the bulls as the
"January Barometer" has been accurate 92.3%, with only one error
in odd-number years since 1937.  According to the Stock Trader's
Almanac, since 1950 January has predicted the annual course of
the stock market with amazing precision, registering only four
major errors.  The "January Barometer was devised by Yale Hirsch
in 1972 and is based on whether the S&P 500 is up or down in
January.  Of the four major errors, two (1966 and 1968) were
affected by the Vietnam war.  In 1966, the SPX gained 0.5% in
January, but fell 13.1% over the course of the year.  In 1968,
the SPX lost 4.4%, but gained 7.7% by that year's end.

Today's action saw the S&P 500 Bullish % ($BPSPX) see a net loss
of 1%, or 5 stocks to reversing point and figure sell signals.
This has the bullish % falling to 48.2% and still "bull
correction" status.

S&P 100 Index Chart - Daily Interval

Earlier in tonight's wrap, I quickly mentioned some correlative
levels of resistance between the WEEKLY pivot levels and
tomorrow's daily pivot levels in the 443-444 area.  This would
tie in with the 50% retracement level from above.  The above
retracement is from the WEEKLY pivot analysis, so the correlation
for tomorrow's resistance would be from daily R1.  To get there,
I would think the pre-market economic data had better show some
type of bullish surprises.  The most closely watched number
tomorrow will most likely be the advanced GDP for Q4, with weekly
jobless claims for the latest week coming in second.

Today's action saw no net change in the S&P 100 Bullish %
($BPOEX) and the bullish % reading here remains "bear confirmed"
at 46%.

Dow Industrials Chart - Daily Interval

Just as the other indexes find support at their WEEKLY R1's and
80.9% retracement levels from weekly retracement, so did the Dow.
However, we do see how the Dow wasn't quite able to trade its
61.8% retracement level like the other indexes.  The recent
"pattern" of relative strength has been NDX, then SPX and OEX,
with the Dow leading declines.  The various Dow components have
seen some rather sharp declines after earnings and exacerbated
the Dow's declines.  In my view, these 30 components are also the
stocks I feel should show first benefit to an economic recovery.
This isn't happening at all and has any bullish trades being
short-term oriented and currently looking for rally points to
trade bearish.  On weakness, the Dow should be the first to break
recent 3-day support, and bullishness above 8,168 has me viewing
the gains as short-covering related, or the MARKET trying make
bets on future economic growth.  With the recent breakdown below
8,300, I'm not currently thinking the MARKET is trying to make
any bets on future economic growth.

Today's action saw now net change in the very narrow Dow
Industrials Bullish % ($BPINDU).  Status remains "bear confirmed"
at 36.67%, and would take a reversal up in the bullish % to 44%
achieve "bear correction" status.

Jeff Bailey

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California Investment Trust Fund Group

The California Investment Trust Fund Group based in San Francisco
is the subject this week of our Weekly Fund Family Profile.  They
currently offer a dozen no-load, low-cost mutual funds, including
7 stock funds, 4 bond funds, and 2 money market funds designed to
meet a broad range of investment needs.  Several of the company's
stock funds are passively managed or indexed, providing investors
a low-cost means to invest in certain areas of the equity market.

The California Investment Trust website (www.caltrust.com) states
that the company has been managing mutual funds since 1985.  Fund
objectives and styles are different from fund to fund and are run
accordingly.  The funds are actively managed are designed to stay
true to their objective and style.  For example, they say that if
you believe a value-driven approach is the way to go that you can
rely on their value product, Equity Income Fund, being consistent
with its value discipline.

Cal Trust's funds are offered on a no-load, no-transaction basis
through leading mutual fund networks including Fidelity, Charles
Schwab, Goldman Sachs, and TD Waterhouse.  Their funds require a
minimum initial investment of $5,000 or $10,000 depending on what
fund you're talking about, but the minimum initial investment is
just $500 for IRA accounts.  For more information, call Cal Trust
at 800-225-8778.

Fund Overview

The portfolio manager for the California Investment Trust mutual
funds is CCM Partners.  According to the most recent prospectus,
CCM Partners manages $625 million in mutual fund assets, and has
been managing mutual funds since 1985.  They are responsible for
running the portfolios and handling the administrative duties of
the Cal Trust funds.  CCM Partners receives a management fee for
its services from each fund.

Except for the money market funds, California Investment Trust's
mutual funds are generally managed with a longer-term viewpoint,
rather than with a short-term view.  Their equity funds, most of
which are indexed have low annual turnover ratios as well as low
annual expense ratios, adding to their general appeal.  Below is
a summary of the California Investment Trust Group mutual funds
by investment class.

 Stock Funds:
 S&P 500 Index Fund (SPFIX)
 S&P MidCap Index Fund (SPMIX)
 S&P SmallCap Index Fund (SMCIX)
 Nasdaq 100 Index Fund (NASDX)
 Equity Income Fund (EQTIX)
 European Growth & Income Fund (EUGIX)

 Bond Funds:
 U.S. Government Securities Fund (CAUSX)
 Short-Term U.S. Government Securities Fund (STUSX)
 California Tax-Free Income Fund (CFNTX)
 California Insured Intermediate Fund (CATFX)

 Money Market Funds:
 The United States Treasury Trust
 California Tax-Free Money Market Fund

The S&P 500 Index, S&P MidCap Index and S&P SmallCap Index funds
invest in different capital sectors of the market and offer wide
industry sector exposure.  Since there's no overlap, these index
funds represent different diversification opportunities for fund
investors.  The Nasdaq 100 Index Fund invests in the largest 100
stocks traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.  Tech stocks make up
most of the growth-oriented index, though the portfolio can/does
invest in other sectors.  The expense ratios for the index funds
are relatively low, especially the S&P 500 Index Fund, which has
just a 0.20% expense ratio.

If you'd rather go the value route, then you may wish to consider
the Equity Income Fund, which takes a more conservative approach.
It seeks to provide income and capital appreciation over the long
run by investing in the stocks of mid- and large-sized companies
that have a dividend yield, which is at least 50% higher than the
S&P 500 index.  The European Growth & Income Fund invests in the
stocks of large-size European companies in pursuit of its growth
and income objective.  Its holdings are generally different from
any of the U.S. stock funds, providing investors with additional
diversification opportunities.

Two taxable bond funds and two tax-exempt bond funds make up the
California Investment Trust bond fund menu.  The U.S. Government
Securities Fund seeks high current income by investing primarily
in intermediate- and long-term U.S. Government Securities.  This
includes Treasury bonds/notes as well as GNMAs.  Longer maturity
bond funds offer greater yield and return potential, but tend to
be associated with greater risk.  The Short-Term U.S. Government
Securities Fund is similarly run, except that it invests for the
most part in bonds with shorter maturities (to curb volatility).

The U.S. Treasury Trust is a taxable money market fund that seeks
to provide current income and to maintain a stable $1.00 NAV fund
price.  Money market funds are designed to protect investors from
market volatility and credit risk, but offer the lowest potential
return.  At current rates, most money market funds, including the
U.S. Treasury Trust, are yielding less than one percent.

Fund Ratings and Performance

Of the 10 stock and bond funds in Morningstar's system, three of
them are not yet rated for return and risk.  They are the Nasdaq
100 Index Fund, European Growth and Income Fund, and Short-Term
U.S. Government Fund.  The other seven funds from Cal Trust are
3-star or 4-star rated by Morningstar, so at least average risk-
adjusted return performance in comparison to similar fund types.

Below is a summary of Morningstar's overall ratings for each Cal
Trust fund using data from the Morningstar.com website.  Ratings
are as of December 31, 2002.

 Stock Fund Ratings:
 S&P 500 Index Fund (SPFIX) 4 Stars (Average Risk)
 S&P MidCap Index Fund (SPMIX) 4 Stars (Average Risk)
 S&P SmallCap Index Fund (SMCIX) 3 Stars (Average Risk)
 Nasdaq 100 Index Fund (NASDX) Not Rated
 Equity Income Fund (EQTIX) 3 Stars (Below Average Risk)
 European Growth & Income Fund (EUGIX) Not Rated

 Bond Fund Ratings:
 U.S. Government Securities Fund (CAUSX) 3 Stars (High Risk)
 Short-Term U.S. Government Securities Fund (STUSX) Not Rated
 California Tax-Free Income Fund (CFNTX) 3 Stars (Above Avg Risk)
 California Insured Interm. Fund (CATFX) 3 Stars (Above Avg Risk)

Like the Vanguard index funds, the Cal Trust S&P index funds are
market-like in both risk and return.  The Equity Income Fund has
below average risk relative to its category peer group.  True to
its mandate, it represents a more conservative equity investment.

The high risk rating on the U.S. Government Securities Fund is a
result of its long-term nature.  As we stated earlier, long-term
bond funds generally provide a higher yield and more return over
time than short-term bond funds, but risk is typically higher as
well.  Similar government funds have intermediate-term durations.

Next, we look at fund performance.  Below is a summary of 5-year
average annual total returns for the California Investment Trust
mutual funds per Morningstar data as of Friday, January 24, 2002.

 Stock Fund Returns (5-Year Annualized):
 -1.1% S&P 500 Index Fund (SPFIX) 33rd Percentile
 +6.7% S&P MidCap Index Fund (SPMIX) 15th Percentile
 +1.4% S&P SmallCap Index Fund (SMCIX) 47th Percentile
  N/a  Nasdaq 100 Index Fund (NASDX) N/a
 -1.4% Equity Income Fund (EQTIX) 58th Percentile
  N/a  European Growth & Income Fund (EUGIX) N/a

 Bond Fund Returns (5-Year Annualized):
 +6.4% U.S. Government Securities Fund (CAUSX) 55th Percentile
  N/a  Short-Term U.S. Government Securities Fund (STUSX) N/a
 +4.9% California Tax-Free Income Fund (CFNTX) 33rd Percentile
 +5.1% California Insured Interm. Fund (CATFX) 53rd Percentile

Performance-wise, the Cal Trust funds have done what they have
set out to do, providing at least competitive returns compared
with similar funds and providing returns commensurate with the
various markets in which they invest.  Not all of the category
rankings are great as in the case of the S&P MidCap Index Fund,
but investors had the opportunity to invest a portion of stock
assets in the mid-cap or small-cap fund, which gained in value
over the past five years while the S&P 500 Index Fund declined.

So, it's more important to get your asset allocation right than
it is to pick a fund within an investment class.  Average total
returns can work if you get the asset allocation decision right.

Bond fund returns are decent, but on a risk-adjusted basis they
are less compelling.  If your objective is income, you may find
better choices out there.  If you use these funds as part of an
balanced investment program, then you're probably alright since
their inclusion will reduce overall portfolio risk, compared to
an all-equity portfolio.  I'd be inclined to go with the Short-
Term U.S. Government Fund, since it has lower volatility versus
its long-term sibling.


There are some decent mutual fund choices for investors at the
California Investment Trust.  No load fees, low turnover rates,
and low expense ratios permit the mutual funds to put up decent
numbers over time relative to comparable funds.  Having choices
among the index funds offers investors different opportunities
for diversification.  Consider the S&P 500 Index Fund to be a
core option and the S&P MidCap Index Fund and the S&P SmallCap
Index Fund to be "explore" options.

Bottom-fishers with high-risk tolerance may wish to look at the
Nasdaq 100 Index Fund now, but buyer-beware.  Tech stocks equal
more than half of the index holdings, so this is a large-growth
fund with heavy tech exposure.  It will incur greater risk than
the market as measured by the S&P 500 index.

Steve Wagner
Editor, Mutual Investor


Volatility Overload?
by Mark Phillips

The topic of volatility has gotten a lot of press time lately,
and small wonder with the VIX topping the 40 level (at least on
an intraday basis) earlier this week.  Volatility certainly
wasn't lacking today, with the broad market moving sharply lower
at the open and then staging an impressive afternoon rally.  The
S&P 500 swung from a low near 845 to a high of 868, before
settling near with a respectable (if small) gain on the day.
The VIX has had its share of volatility in the past few days as
well, and I thought tonight would be a good time to discuss
these movements and what possible implications they could hold
for the near-term future of our beloved markets.

Before we get into the meat of the discussion, let me point out
that I never use the VIX as a primary indicator of market
direction.  The main reason for this is that the VIX is derived
from action in the options market, which is a derivative market
of actual price action in the stock market.  Therefore, trying
to divine future market direction based on the action of the
VIX is really the study of a secondary indicator.  The real
action is what is occurring in the price action of the broad
market averages, and measuring that will provide a more direct
measure of what to expect.  Having said that, I often find
that studying the action of the VIX provides a great confirming
indicator of what I see in the broad market.

So let's start with the backdrop that the major indices still
look exceedingly weak, even after today's rebound.  PnF Sell
signals abound, Bullish Percent charts are all tilted
significantly in favor of the bears, significant support levels
(at least in the DOW and S&Ps) have been violated, along with
H&S breakdowns that have been highlighted by others for weeks
now.  Add in the prospects of war, and an economy that looks
sick, at best, and it is hard to make a convincing case for a
rally that has much future, at least in the near term.  But I
don't want to get diverted to any of those issues this afternoon.
I want to talk about the VIX, show some of the different ways
of viewing this indicator and how it might be used to confirm
the bearish picture for equities.

In his 3:15pm intraday update on Monday, Kent Barton pointed
out a long-term trend of lower highs in the VIX since the July
highs near 57.  That chart really got my attention, as it looked
like something important.  That descending trendline worked out
to just over 41 (as shown below) and it is really interesting
that this trendline acted as firm resistance this week.

Weekly Chart of CBOE Volatility Index (VIX.X)

In last Sunday's LEAPS column, I discussed my belief that the
range for the VIX really IS rising, due to the persistent rise
in the 200-dma, which I have approximated in the chart above
with a 50-week moving average.  This average is now at its
highest level ever.  That tells me that the historical range
between 20-30 no longer holds the significance that it once did.
I even stated my belief that a VIX reading in the teens is
probably something we won't see for a period of years.  Coming
back to the VIX reversal at that descending trendline, I actually
was surprised to see that reversal.  Whenever the market surprises
me, I like to find out why.  Or in other words, what is it that I

When looking for the big picture, I frequently turn to the PnF
charts, as they show me the dominant supply/demand dynamic at
work.  This even works for the VIX, and look what I found!

Point & Figure Chart of the VIX

On the PnF chart, the bearish resistance line was at 40.  Do you
think it is just a coincidence that the VIX was unable to print
41?  Neither do I.  By the way, the intraday high for the VIX
was 40.89 on Monday, just 0.11 shy of the 41 level, but shy just
the same.  Those familiar with PnF charts know that the first
test of bearish resistance usually results in a reversal, just
as the first test of bullish support results in a reversal.  That
held true with the VIX this week and I am now looking for support
to hold in the 33-35 area.  As you can see, 35 is significant
support for the VIX both on the PnF chart and on the standard
candle chart, as this area acted as resistance throughout
December.  Defining the lower edge of this support zone is the
200-dma, which now sits at 33.23.

One thing on the PnF chart that tells me up is the dominant
direction for the VIX is that we now have a strong Buy signal.
Performing a vertical count gives a target of 67.  Wow!  That
seems extreme, doesn't it?  But just a few months back, I never
would have believed the VIX could remain above 30 for a period
of 4 months, either.  Things change.

As I said above, I don't use the VIX as a primary trend
indicator.  I use it for confirmation.  But in the context of a
market that clearly seems to be heading south, the VIX certainly
appears to be providing that confirmation.  Let's look at one
more chart to round out our discussion.

Weekly Chart of CBOE Volatility Index (VIX.X)

Here I've shown the same weekly VIX chart, but with a few more
pieces of information.  With the normal range of 20-30 shown in
blue, it becomes easier to visualize how far the VIX has deviated
from its normal pattern.  That double-bottom near 26 perhaps
defines a new floor for the VIX, and certainly did so earlier
this month.  I normally don't pay much attention to oscillators
on the VIX, as I've found the gyrations rather difficult to
interpret.  But one aspect of the Stochastics as applied to the
VIX that I have found useful is that of divergence.  It doesn't
occur very often, but when it does, it seems to be pretty
consistent about forecasting major moves.  So it is perhaps
useful to note the higher lows in Stochastics, as compared to
the equal lows for the VIX -- bullish divergence, and that is
bearish for equities, once again confirming my broad market view.

Certainly, the picture afforded us by the VIX right now is subject
to change, but it does provide a good confirmation of the bearish
picture currently being displayed in the equity market.  Hopefully
this little discussion helps you to see how I use the VIX to keep
on the right side of the dominant trend.  In my view, the big
picture being displayed both in the broad market indices and the
VIX is telling me that the market is heading significantly lower
and the VIX significantly higher before a new tradable bottom
will be in place.  Questions are always welcome.


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Relief Rally

That rally we saw to close the day on Tuesday, ahead of the
President's State of the Union address, looked an awful lot like
a short covering rally considering the sell-off we got this morning.

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 01-29-2003
Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

In Section Two:

Stop Loss Updates: None
Dropped Calls: None
Dropped Puts: None
Play of the Day: Put - KO
Big Cap Covered Calls & Naked Puts:

Updated on the site tonight:
Market Posture: Slight Shift
Market Watch: Balancing Act

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offers true direct access to each option exchange
offers stop and stop loss online option orders
offers contingent option orders based on the price of the option or
offers online spread order entry for net debit or credit
offers fast option executions

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call 1-888-889-9178 or click for more information.



KO - Coca-Cola $42.82 -1.08 (-2.26 for the week)

Company Description:
The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company and
is the leading producer and marketer of soft drinks. Along with
Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's best-known brand, The Coca-
Cola Company markets four of the world's top five soft drink
brands, including diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite. Through the
world's largest distribution system, consumers in nearly 200
countries enjoy The Coca-Cola Company's products at a rate of
more than 1 billion servings each day. (source: company release)

Most Recent Write-Up:
Talk about lack of relative strength! KO now has not only given
us our PnF breakdown, as well as a trigger down at $41.90, but it
added to its six-year low in spite of the Dow gaining 100 points
on today's broad market rebound. Part of that was due to Pepsi's
earnings release, which beat expectations due to increased
prices, in spite of U.S. volume coming in on the low side.
Traders focused on the light volume and 2003 forecast from PEP,
selling the stock off early, before it bounced to a mild gain
with the broader markets. KO was not so lucky, however, falling
$0.69 by the end of the day, and closing near its low, after
setting an intraday low at $41.00. That low can be seen two ways.
Bulls may view it as support at the round number, while bears can
point to the bearish "O" on the PnF column. That "O" added to the
sell signal at $41 and dropped the stock below its $42 "O" on the
PnF back in April 2001. That $42 "O" was actually on a dividend -
adjusted basis, but it nevertheless shows up as the last support
level of the last couple of years. Now we have moved below it on
both the bar and PnF charts. Just to be safe, new entries can
target a momentum move below $41.00 for entry to make sure it
does not continue to act as support. We are lowering our stop
loss on the play to $44.25, just above the 21- dma. More
aggressive traders can leave the stop above the 50- dma of
$44.89, while more conservative traders can lower stops to
$43.10, just above Monday's high.

Why This Is Our Play of the Day:
KO just can't seem to get up.  In spite of an impressive two days
of action in the Dow, first with a big rally Tuesday and then a
big recovery Wednesday, Dow component KO just keeps dropping.  It
set a six year low on Monday as it fell through support at $43
and has now added several "O"s to its current bearish column on
the PnF chart.  This morning it traded down below $40 before
following the Dow's furious rebound higher.  However, in spite of
that big bounce, KO still was one of the handful of losers by the
end of the day.  We like the entry point in KO from two angles,
depending on just how much life today's market bounce has left.
First, if the Dow continues to rollover, we like a momentum entry
on a move below today's low of $39.81.  A failed rebound below
$40 once that level is broken can be used for confirmation of the
breakdown.  The other alternative would be on a failed bounce
beneath $43 if the Dow continues higher.  It hasn't helped KO
thus far, but if we do finally get a powerful broad market rally,
then a failure below the original $43 breakdown level could
provide a good risk/reward ratio.

BUY PUT FEB-45 KO-NI OI= 7451 at $4.80 SL=2.40
BUY PUT MAR-45 KO-OI OI= 3775 at $5.30 SL=2.65

Average Daily Volume = 5.0 mil

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



"Recovery In Progress" Or "Short-Lived Rebound?"
By Ray Cummins

Stocks edged higher Wednesday, despite the Fed's cautious comments
about the economy and continued shortfalls in quarterly earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrials added 21 points to 8,110 on strength in
Exxon-Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Merck (NASDAQ:MRK) and International Paper
(NYSE:IP).  Blue-chip gains were hampered by losses in food stocks
including Altria Group (NYSE:MO), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Coca
Cola (NYSE:KO).  Chip giant Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and software king
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) helped the NASDAQ finish in the black, up
over 15 points to 1,358.  Telecom and networking shares also saw
limited buying pressure.  The broader market S&P 500-stock index
enjoyed gains in oil and gas issues as crude prices rallied amid
renewed concerns over a possible disruption of world oil supplies.
Drug stocks were also higher while shares of gold and silver issues
consolidated from recent upside activity.  Volume was average with
1.57 billion shares trading on the NYSE while 1.5 billion shares
changed hands on the NASDAQ.  Winners outpaced losers 3 to 2 on the
NYSE but the trend was reversed on the technology exchange, where
declines were slightly ahead of advances.  Treasuries were higher,
receiving a modest safe-haven bid as the Fed stood pat on interest
rates.  The benchmark 10-year note rose 6/32 at 107 28/32 to yield
3.96%.  The 30-year bond rose 6/32 at 107 28/32 to yield 4.86%.




The following summary is a reasonable account of the positions
previously offered in this section.  However, no representation
is being made as to the actual performance of a position and in
fact, there are frequently large differences between the summary
results and those of actual traders, due to the variety of ways
in which each play can be opened, closed, and/or adjusted.  In
addition, the summary might not be completely representative of
the manner in which the average trader would react to changing
conditions in a position and to the options market in general.
The play commentary (when provided) is simply a service to help
new traders understand when positions might be opened and closed.
In most cases, actions taken based on the commentary would be far
too late to be effective, thus it is not intended as a substitute
for personal trade management nor does it replace your duty to
diligently monitor and manage the positions in your portfolio.


The Maximum Yield (listed in the summary and with new option
selling plays) is the greatest possible profit available in the
position.  This amount, expressed as a percentage, is based on
the initial margin requirement as determined by the Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. options markets and
other self-regulatory organizations.  Although increased margin
requirements may be imposed either generally or in individual
cases by various brokerage firms, our calculations use the widely
accepted margin formulas from the Chicago Board Options Exchange.
The "Simple Yield" is based on the cost of the underlying issue
(in the event of assignment), including the premium from the sold
option, thus it reflects the maximum potential loss in the trade.

Naked Puts

Stock  Strike Strike  Cost Current   Gain    Max   Simple
Symbol  Month  Price Basis  Price   (Loss)  Yield  Yield

ASA      FEB    35   34.45  40.57   $0.55   4.44%  1.60%
COF      FEB    25   24.35  31.66   $0.65   7.31%  2.67%
IGEN     FEB    35   34.05  40.04   $0.95   8.27%  2.79%
INVN     FEB    22   22.05  25.42   $0.45   6.32%  2.04%
PHM      FEB    45   44.05  50.62   $0.95   5.39%  2.16%
ACDO     FEB    33   31.45  36.15   $1.05   7.73%  3.34%
AMGN     FEB    48   46.30  51.59   $1.20   5.40%  2.59%
BSTE     FEB    35   33.85  34.89   $1.04   6.79%  3.40%
CEPH     FEB    45   44.15  49.23   $0.85   5.04%  1.93%
GENZ     FEB    30   29.40  32.97   $0.60   5.18%  2.04%
ACDO     FEB    35   34.50  36.15   $0.50   4.18%  1.45%
AMGN     FEB    47   46.90  51.59   $0.60   3.66%  1.28%
AU       FEB    30   29.55  36.90   $0.45   4.94%  1.52%
CEPH     FEB    45   44.25  49.23   $0.75   5.18%  1.69%
SYMC     FEB    40   39.45  46.10   $0.55   4.22%  1.39%

Accredo Health (NASDAQ:ACDO), Biosite (NASDAQ:BSTE) and
Genzyme General (NASDAQ:GENZ) are the primary issues on
the "early exit" watch-list.

Naked Calls

Stock  Strike Strike  Cost   Current  Gain    Max   Simple
Symbol Month  Price   Basis  Price   (Loss)  Yield  Yield

EXPE     FEB    75    76.25  64.08   $1.25   6.84%  1.64%
MBG      FEB    30    30.65  26.07   $0.65   6.68%  2.12%
QCOM     FEB    43    43.05  37.09   $0.55   5.07%  1.28%
CCMP     FEB    60    61.15  46.97   $1.15   6.10%  1.88%
KLAC     FEB    45    45.80  34.67   $0.80   6.83%  1.75%
LLTC     FEB    33    33.25  26.60   $0.75   6.68%  2.26%
QLGC     FEB    48    48.40  35.95   $0.90   6.19%  1.86%
CDWC     FEB    50    50.55  46.72   $0.55   4.59%  1.09%
CTSH     FEB    65    65.75  56.50   $0.75   4.41%  1.14%
NVLS     FEB    38    37.85  29.53   $0.35   5.41%  0.92%

Put-Credit Spreads

Stock                                             Gain
Symbol  Pick   Last  Month L/P S/P Credit  C/B   (Loss) Status

FRX     53.03  51.40  FEB   45  48  0.00  47.50  $0.00  No Play
PFCB    37.96  34.50  FEB   30  35  0.50  34.50  $0.00   Open
SLM    106.71 105.60  FEB   90  95  0.50  94.50  $0.50   Open
AGN     60.51  61.88  FEB   50  55  0.50  54.50  $0.50   Open
BRL     77.63  78.74  FEB   65  70  0.40  69.60  $0.40   Open
FIC     44.63  48.40  FEB   35  40  0.45  39.55  $0.45   Open
AET     44.21  42.85  FEB   35  40  0.50  39.50  $0.50   Open
BR      42.71  42.70  FEB   38  40  0.25  39.75  $0.25   Open
MMM    127.50 125.83  FEB  115 120  0.55 119.45  $0.55   Open

As noted last week, P.F.Chang's (NASDAQ:PFCB) close below the
sold strike at $35 signaled our exit in the position.

Call-Credit Spreads

Stock                                             Gain
Symbol  Pick   Last  Month L/C S/C Credit  C/B   (Loss) Status

HET     37.47  36.00  FEB   43  40  0.40  40.40  $0.40   Open
PHA     42.00  41.00  FEB   50  45  0.60  45.60  $0.60   Open
ZBRA    57.32  54.99  FEB   70  65  0.50  65.50  $0.50   Open
ATK     59.65  55.14  FEB   70  65  0.50  65.50  $0.50   Open
GS      73.51  69.05  FEB   85  80  0.40  80.40  $0.40   Open
PDX     34.40  36.45  FEB   45  40  0.65  40.65  $0.65   Open
ABK     55.74  53.21  FEB   65  60  0.50  60.50  $0.50   Open
FITB    56.49  55.28  FEB   65  60  0.50  60.50  $0.50   Open
HAR     55.62  58.65  FEB   65  60  0.60  60.60  $0.60   Open

Harmon Electronics (NYSE:HAR) is the only position of concern
in the category of bearish credit spreads and the stock price
is currently below the sold (call) strike.

Credit Strangles

No Open Positions

Synthetic Positions:

No Open Positions

Questions & comments on spreads/combos to Contact Support


This following group of plays is simply a list of candidates to
supplement your search for profitable trading positions.  As with
any new investment, you must decide if the selections meet your
criteria for potential plays.  Only you can know what strategies
are suitable for your skill level, risk-reward tolerance and
portfolio outlook.  In addition, we recommend that you avoid any
strategy or technique in which you are not completely comfortable
with the potential loss, the necessary adjustments and the common
entry-exit strategies.  The positions with "*" will be included
in the weekly summary.  Those with "TS" (Target-Shoot) are below
our minimum monthly return but may offer a favorable entry price
with a limit order, due to the daily volatility of the underlying


BULLISH PLAYS - Premium Selling

All of these issues have robust option premiums and relatively
favorable technical indications.  However, current news and market
sentiment will have an effect on these stocks, so review each play
thoroughly and make your own decision about its future outcome.

COP - ConocoPhillips  $48.01  *** On The Rebound! **

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), formerly Phillips Petroleum Company, is
an international, integrated energy company with operations in 49
countries.  The firm has four core activities worldwide: petroleum
exploration and production, petroleum refining, marketing, supply
and transportation; natural gas gathering, processing and sales,
including a 30.3% interest in Duke Energy Field Services, and a
chemicals and plastics production and distribution business through
a 50% interest in Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.  The company
was founded in August 2002, following the merger of Conoco and
Phillips Petroleum.

COP - ConocoPhillips  $48.01

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 45   COP NI     702    0.50  44.50   4.0%   1.1% *
SELL PUT  FEB 47.5 COP NW     650    1.30  46.20   8.6%   2.8%

CYMI - Cymer  $33.61  *** Semiconductor Sector Rally! ***

Cymer (NASDAQ:CYMI is a supplier of excimer laser illumination
sources, the essential light source for deep ultraviolet (DUV)
photolithography systems used in the building of semiconductors.
DUV lithography is a key enabling technology, which has allowed
the semiconductor industry to meet the exacting specifications
and manufacturing requirements for volume production of today's
most advanced semiconductor chips.  Cymer's lasers are used in
step-and-repeat and step-and-scan photolithography systems for
the manufacture of semiconductors with critical feature sizes
below 0.35 microns.  Cymer believes its excimer lasers constitute
a substantial majority of all excimer lasers incorporated in DUV
photolithography tools.  Cymer's various products consist of
photolithography light sources, replacement parts and service.

CYMI - Cymer  $33.61

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 25   CQG NE    2,150   0.20  24.80   3.8%   0.8% TS
SELL PUT  FEB 30   CQG NF    1,230   0.80  29.20   9.9%   2.7% *
SELL PUT  FEB 35   CQG NG      997   2.70  32.30  20.4%   8.4%

DISH - EchoStar Communications  $25.27  *** Uptrend Intact! ***

EchoStar Communications (NASDAQ:DISH) operates through two major
business units, the DISH Network and EchoStar Technologies.  The
DISH Network offers a direct broadcast satellite subscription TV
service in the United States with almost 7 million DISH Network
subscribers.  EchoStar Technologies Corporation is engaged in the
design, development, distribution and sale of DBS set-top boxes,
antennae and other digital equipment for the DISH Network and the
design, development and distribution of similar equipment for a
range of international satellite service providers.

DISH - EchoStar Communications  $25.27

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 22.5 UAB NX    1,643   0.30  22.20   5.2%   1.4% *
SELL PUT  FEB 25   UAB NE    2,375   0.95  24.05  11.6%   4.0%

FTE - France Telecom  $26.72  *** European Telecom Growth! ***

France Telecom is a French telecommunications operator with over
100 million customers worldwide.  France Telecom provides retail
consumers, businesses and telecommunications carriers with a range
of telecommunications services, including local, long distance and
international telephony, as well as data, wireless communications,
multimedia, Internet, cable television, broadcast and value-added
services.  France Telecom is also a major participant in developing
satellite and undersea cable systems and it has its own Telecom 1
and Telecom 2 satellites.

FTE - France Telecom  $26.72

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 22.5 FTE NX     35     0.30  22.20   5.9%   1.4% *
SELL PUT  FEB 25   FTE NE      5     0.85  24.15  12.2%   3.5%

MERQ - Mercury Interactive  $37.25  *** Bullish Outlook! ***

Mercury Interactive (NASDAQ:MERQ) is a provider of integrated
performance management solutions that enable businesses to test
and monitor their Web-based applications.  Its software products
and hosted services help Global 2000 companies enhance the user
experience by improving the performance, availability, reliability
and scalability of their Web-based applications.  Its many hosted
services provide its customers with a cost-effective solution that
quickly meets business needs without dedicating significant time
and internal resources.  Its integrated performance management
solutions enable customers to more quickly identify and correct
problems before users experience them.  The company also provides
outsourced load testing and Web performance monitoring services
that complement its software products.

MERQ - Mercury Interactive  $37.25

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 30   RQB NF     948    0.25  29.75   4.2%   0.8% *
SELL PUT  FEB 35   RQB NG   5,858    1.05  33.95  10.2%   3.1%

MUR - Murphy Oil  $41.75  *** Solid Earnings! ***

Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) is a worldwide oil and gas
exploration and production company with refining and marketing
operations in the United States and the United Kingdom.  The
firm's operations are classified into two business activities:
Exploration and Production; and Refining and Marketing. Murphy's
principal exploration and production activities are conducted in
the United States, Ecuador and Malaysia by wholly owned Murphy
Exploration & Production Company and its subsidiaries; in western
Canada and offshore eastern Canada by wholly owned Murphy Oil and
its subsidiaries; and in the U.K. North Sea and Atlantic Margin
by wholly owned Murphy Petroleum Limited.  Murphy Oil USA, Inc.,
a wholly owned subsidiary, owns and operates two refineries in
the United States.  MOUSA markets refined products through a
network of retail gasoline stations and branded and unbranded
wholesale customers in a 23-state area of the southern and
Midwestern United States.

MUR - Murphy Oil  $41.75

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 37.5 MUR NU      90    0.40  37.10   4.1%   1.1% *
SELL PUT  FEB 40   MUR NH     221    0.75  39.25   6.3%   1.9%

QCOM - Qualcomm  $38.01  *** Successful Test Of Support? ***

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is a developer and supplier of code
division multiple access (CDMA)-based integrated circuits
and system software for wireless voice and data communications
and global positioning system (GPS) products.  The company
offers complete system solutions, including software and
integrated circuits for wireless handsets and infrastructure
equipment.  This complete system solution approach provides
customers with advanced wireless technology, enhanced component
integration and interoperability, as well as reduced time to

QCOM - Qualcomm  $38.01

PLAY (sell naked put):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL PUT  FEB 35   AAW NG   17,322   0.60  34.40   6.2%   1.7% *
SELL PUT  FEB 37.5 AAW NU    7,774   1.40  36.10  11.5%   3.9%


BULLISH PLAYS - Credit Spreads

These candidates are based on the underlying issue's technical
history or trend.  The probability of profit in these positions
may also be higher than other plays in the same strategy, due to
small disparities in option pricing however, each play should be
evaluated for portfolio suitability and reviewed with regard to
your strategic approach and trading style.

BLL - Ball Corporation  $52.73  *** Favorable Earnings! ***

Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) is a manufacturer of metal and
plastic packaging, primarily for beverages and foods, and a
supplier of aerospace and other technologies and services to
commercial and governmental customers.  Ball's business is the
manufacture and sale of rigid packaging products, primarily for
beverages and foods.  Polyethylene terephthalate packaging is
Ball's newest product line.  Their aerospace and technologies
segment includes civil space systems, defense operations and
commercial space operations.  The defense operations business
unit includes defense systems, systems engineering services and
advanced antenna and video systems, as well as electro-optics
and cryogenic systems and components.  Civil space systems,
defense operations and commercial space operations include
hardware, software and services to domestic and international
customers, with emphases on space science, environmental and
Earth sciences, defense and intelligence, manned missions and
space exploration.

BLL - Ball Corporation  $52.73

PLAY (less conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  FEB-45.00  BLL-NI  OI=365  A=$0.25
SELL PUT  FEB-50.00  BLL-NJ  OI=798  B=$0.70
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=9% B/E=$49.55

EBAY - eBay Inc.  $74.93  *** Everything For Sale Here! ***

eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is a Web-based community in which buyers and
sellers are brought together to browse, buy and sell items such
as collectibles, automobiles, high-end or premium art items,
jewelry, consumer electronics and a host of practical and other
miscellaneous items.  The eBay trading platform is an automated,
topically arranged service that supports an auction format in
which sellers list items for sale and buyers bid on items of
interest, and a fixed-price format in which sellers and buyers
trade items at a fixed price established by sellers.  Through
its wholly owned and partially owned subsidiaries and affiliates,
the Company operated online trading platforms directed towards
the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand,
Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and also the
United Kingdom.

EBAY - eBay Inc.  $74.93

PLAY (less conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  FEB-65.00  QXB-NM  OI=8330  A=$0.45
SELL PUT  FEB-70.00  QXB-NN  OI=7346  B=$1.00
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=11% B/E=$69.45


BULLISH PLAYS - Calendar Spreads

A calendar spread (or time spread) consists of the sale of one
option and the simultaneous purchase of an option of the same
type and strike price, but with a future expiration date.  The
premise in a calendar spread is simple: time erodes the value of
the near-term option at a faster rate than the far-term option.
The positions in today's section are based on a reader's request
for some "speculative" calendar spreads on bullish issues.

APA - Apache Oil  $60.74  *** Reader's Request!  ***

Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) is an energy company that explores
for, develops and produces natural gas, crude oil and natural gas
liquids.  The company has interests in seven countries including
the United States, Canada, Egypt, Australia, China, Poland and
Argentina.  As of January 1, 2002, Apache had estimated reserves
of 599 million barrels of crude oil, condensate and NGLs (natural
gas liquids) and four Tcf (trillion cubic feet) of natural gas.
Combined, these total estimated proved reserves are equivalent to
1.3 billion barrels of oil or 7.6 Tcf of gas.  Worldwide, in 2001,
the company participated in drilling 939 new wells, with 828 (88%)
completed as producers.  Canada was Apache's most active region,
with 447 gross new wells at a success rate of 93%.  Apache also
performed over 1,350 major work-overs and re-completions in North
America during the year.

APA - Apache Oil  $60.74

PLAY (speculative - bullish/calendar spread):

BUY  CALL  APR-65.00  APA-DM  OI=2451  A=$1.85
SELL CALL  FEB-65.00  APA-BM  OI=1787  B=$0.45

STJ - St. Jude Medical  $43.69  *** Reader's Request! ***

St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) is engaged primarily in the development,
manufacturing and distribution of cardiovascular medical devices for
the global cardiac rhythm management (CRM), cardiology and vascular
access (C/VA) and cardiac surgery (CS) markets.  The firm's primary
products in each of these markets are bradycardia pacemaker systems,
tachycardia implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) systems and
electrophysiology (EP) catheters in CRM; vascular closure devices,
catheters, guidewires and introducers in C/VA, and mechanical and
tissue heart valves, valve repair products and suture-free devices
to facilitate coronary artery bypass graft anastomoses in CS.  St.
Jude markets its products primarily in the United States, Western
Europe and Japan. The Company also sells its products in Eastern
Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Canada, Latin America and the Asia
Pacific region through employee-based sales organizations and
independent distributors.

STJ - St. Jude Medical  $43.69

PLAY (speculative - bullish/calendar spread):

BUY  CALL  APR-45.00  STJ-DI  OI=1722  A=$2.10
SELL CALL  FEB-45.00  STJ-BI  OI=722   B=$0.75



Based on analysis of option pricing and the underlying stock's
technical background, these positions meet our fundamental
criteria for bearish "premium-selling" strategies.  Each issue
has robust option premiums, a well-defined resistance area and
a high probability of remaining below the target strike prices.
As with any recommendations, these positions should be carefully
evaluated for portfolio suitability and reviewed with regard to
your strategic approach and personal trading style.

EXPE - Expedia  $62.94  *** Travel Industry Slump! ***

Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) is a provider of travel-planning services.
The company's travel marketplace includes direct-to-consumer
Websites offering travel-planning services located at Expedia.com,
Expedia.co.uk, Expedia.de, Expedia.ca, Expedia.nl and Expedia.it.
Expedia also provides travel-planning services through Voyages
sncf.com, as part of a joint venture with the state-owned railway
group in France.  In addition, the company offers travel-planning
services through its telephone call centers and through private
label travel Websites through its WWTE business.  WWTE is now a
division of Travelscape, one of Expedia's primary subsidiaries.
In February 2002, a controlling stake in the Expedia was acquired
by USA Networks.

EXPE - Expedia  $62.94

PLAY (sell naked call):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL CALL FEB 70   UED BN    2,915   0.65  70.65   4.6%   0.9% *
SELL CALL FEB 65   UED BM    3,049   2.15  67.15  11.3%   3.2%

ZBRA - Zebra Technologies  $54.59  *** Pure Premium Selling! ***

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) and its wholly owned
subsidiaries design, manufacture and support a broad range of
direct thermal and thermal transfer bar code label and receipt
printers, plastic card printers, related accessories and support
software.  The company's main products consist of a broad line
of computerized printers for the production of bar code labels,
receipts and tags, and plastic cards, specialty bar code labeling
materials, ink ribbons for bar code and card printers, and bar
code label design software.

ZBRA - Zebra Technologies  $54.59

PLAY (sell naked call):

Action    Month &  Option    Open    Last  Cost    Max.  Simple
Req'd     Strike   Symbol    Int.    Price Basis  Yield  Yield

SELL CALL FEB 60   ZBQ BL     503    0.75  60.75   5.8%   1.2% *
SELL CALL FEB 55   ZBQ BK     504    2.65  57.65  14.6%   4.6%


BEARISH PLAYS - Credit Spreads

All of these positions are favorable candidates for "bear-call"
credit spreads, based on the current price or trading range of
the underlying issue and its recent technical history or trend.
The probability of profit from these positions may be higher
than other plays in the same strategy, due to disparities in
option pricing.  However, current news and market sentiment will
have an effect on these issues, so review each play individually
and make your own decision about its future outcome.

GM - General Motors  $37.28  *** "Double-Top" At $40? ***

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a diversified automotive business
with interests in communications services, locomotives, finance
and insurance.  GM's automotive business designs, manufactures,
and/or markets vehicles primarily in North America under the
Chevrolet, Pontiac, GMC, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, Saturn and
Hummer nameplates, and outside North America under the Vauxhall,
Opel, Holden, Isuzu, Saab, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac
nameplates.  GM's communications services relate to its Hughes
Electronics Corporation subsidiary, which includes its digital
entertainment, information and communications services, and
satellite-based private business networks.  GM also is engaged
in the design, manufacturing and marketing of locomotives and
heavy-duty transmissions.  The firm's financing and insurance
operations are conducted through the General Motors Acceptance
Corporation, which provides a broad range of financial services.

GM - General Motors  $37.28

PLAY (conservative - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  FEB-42.50  GM-BV  OI=5523   A=$0.15
SELL CALL  FEB-40.00  GM-BH  OI=12554  B=$0.40
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=11% B/E=$40.25

WB - Wachovia Corporation  $35.72  *** Trading Range? ***

Wachovia Corporation (NYSE:WB) is a provider of commercial and
retail banking and trust services through full-service banking
offices in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland,
New Jersey, New York, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania,
Virginia and Washington, D.C.  Through its subsidiary, the firm
operates retail banking and trust services through full-service
banking offices in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina,
and Virginia.  The company also provides various other financial
services, including mortgage banking, credit card, investment
banking, investment advisory, home equity lending, asset-based
lending, leasing, insurance, and brokerage services through other

WB - Wachovia Corporation  $35.72

PLAY (conservative - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  FEB-40.00  WB-BH  OI=4351  A=$0.10
SELL CALL  FEB-37.50  WB-BU  OI=4536  B=$0.30
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=8% B/E=$37.70

XL - XL Capital  $75.92  *** Next Leg Down? ***

XL Capital (NYSE:XL), formerly EXEL Merger Company, is a provider
of insurance and reinsurance coverages and financial products and
services to industrial, commercial and professional service firms,
insurance companies and other enterprises on a worldwide basis.
The company provides property and casualty insurance on a global
basis and generally writes specialty coverages for commercial
customers.  Specific lines of business written are third-party
general liability insurance, environmental liability insurance,
directors/officers liability insurance, professional liability
insurance, aviation and satellite insurance, employment practices
liability insurance, surety, marine insurance, property insurance
and other insurance covers, including program business as well as
political risk insurance.  Premiums written vary by jurisdiction
principally due to local market conditions and legal requirements.

XL - XL Capital  $75.92

PLAY (conservative - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  FEB-85.00  XL-BQ  OI=232  A=$0.25
SELL CALL  FEB 80.00  XL-BP  OI=64   B=$0.70
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=9% B/E=$80.45




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