The Option Investor Newsletter Monday 02-03-2003 Copyright 2003, All rights reserved. 1 of 2 Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited. In Section One: Wrap: Going Nowhere Fast Futures Wrap: Green, but not Golden Index Trader Wrap: Gains hold, despite fade into the close Weekly Fund Wrap: Rollercoaster Traders Corner: The Next Rally Updated on the site tonight: Swing Trader Game Plan: Same Old, Same Old Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com ******************************************************************* MARKET WRAP (view in courier font for table alignment) ******************************************************************* 02-0-2003 High Low Volume Advance/Decl DJIA 8109.82 + 56.01 8152.08 8053.74 1446 mln 766/662 NASDAQ 1323.79 + 2.88 1335.76 1318.00 1215 mln 652/534 S&P 100 435.70 + 3.13 437.92 432.57 totals 1418/1196 S&P 500 860.32 + 4.62 864.64 855.70 RUS 2000 370.25 - 1.92 373.73 369.86 DJ TRANS 2157.49 - 15.86 2183.22 2150.75 VIX 33.98 - 1.80 35.65 33.85 VIXN 46.04 - 0.77 48.21 45.85 Put/Call Ratio 0.84 ******************************************************************* Going Nowhere Fast by Steven Price We saw quite a wild week last week, with big intraday moves over the past few sessions, plenty of Iraq posturing and a slew of earnings reports. Monday was no exception, with an intraday range in the Dow of 100 points. However, in the end, we are just about where we started out last week. In fact, the Dow is off just 22 points from where it began last week, with the OEX off just 0.44 and the SPX off only 1.08. For traders who have gotten whiplash watching the recent movement, it doesn't really seem worth it, as they could have gone on vacation and come back to see little had changed. We had some economic data to drive the market today, coming in the form of positive releases for the ISM manufacturing index and Construction Spending. The Construction Spending number for December showed an increase of 1.2% in December, a significant increase over expectations for a rise of 0.3%. That result could also lead to an upward revision in GDP for the fourth quarter. The November number was also revised higher, showing an increase of 0.9%, versus the previous reading of 0.3%. The ISM data came in at the high end of expectations, with a reading of 53.9%. Anything over 50 shows an increase in manufacturing activity. There had been some concern that December's increase had been an aberration, but the January numbers indicate that even if things are not exactly robust in the manufacturing sector, they are still improving. Of course, for all of the economic data we are seeing, the big issue still hanging over the markets seems to be Iraq. We have gone into a holding pattern for the last week, following the President's State of the Union address last Tuesday. While we are seeing day to day swings, we are not seeing enough conviction from either bulls or bears for a true breakout in either direction. We got a nice rally to start the year, as investors funded their yearly contributions to the retirement plan, followed by a big sell-off once earnings reports started rolling out. It wasn't that the reports were bad, as much as it was due to the accompanying cautious statements about 2003. After the 1300-point swing in the month of January, the market seems a little exhausted and simply awaiting the resolution of the Iraq situation. We are trading in a range below the 2002 year-end sell-off, indicating the overall trend in the markets is still bearish, but the drop has certainly slowed and we are beginning to make back some of those losses. On any given day it can feel as though the worst is behind us and we are headed higher. It can also feel like the sky is falling, and it is time to get out - just throw a dart at any day of the week over the last five or six sessions and you're equally likely to feel either way. In reality, a big continued move is unlikely before we know just how long a war will last and if we even are going to invade. Chart of the Dow While it seems a foregone conclusion that we will invade, the notion of Saddam Hussein and his posse heading into exile is becoming more frequently discussed and seems like his only way out at this point. Oil futures continue to set higher highs, but have seen a steep drop the last couple of days. If traders truly felt we were headed into Iraq in the next couple of weeks, we probably would not be seeing such a pullback. The bet seems to be that we are in for another round of haggling at the U.N. following Powell's presentation on Wednesday. That view is contrary to what we are hearing on television, but I can't think of a better barometer of war in the middle-east than the price of oil. Make no mistake, war is still expected, as per barrel future prices remain well over $30, but with a drop ahead of the U.S. presentation, the market seems to be forecasting a slightly longer wait. The Venezuelan general strike is also a big factor in oil prices, so traders need to keep an eye on those developments as well, before concluding that movements here are only Iraq-related. In fact, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez claims that his country has increased its output to 1.8 million barrels per day, which is more than three times what it has been in recent months. The country was pumping more than 3 million barrels before the beginning of the general strike, but that total dropped to 500,000 at one point, which helped drive up prices, along with middle-east tensions. In actuality, positive developments on either front can reduce the price of oil, at the same time helping the equity market. However, as long as we are faced with war, prices should remain elevated, thus keeping a lid on a stock market rally, as fuel costs remain high. Chart of Oil Futures Ford was the big winner among automakers, as it saw an increase in January sales over a year ago. That was better than GM or Daimler-Chrysler could do, as those manufacturers saw declines from the torrid pace set last year. Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. did caution, however, that some economic trends were worsening, such as unemployment and consumer confidence (which hit multi- year lows last month), and that Iraqi worries are also still contributing to a slow down in spending. Gold futures climbed higher, indicating a defensive play, which is also tied to the sinking U.S. Dollar Index. Gold futures are now trading 371.2, staying close to multi-year highs, set in January. Those futures are giving us bearish signs, failing to confirm what we are seeing in other areas. The dollar started off strong today continuing its rebound from mutli-year lows, but finished the day slightly in the red, also indicating a market on hold. Chart of Gold Futures The bond market also indicates bullishness in equities, as the five, ten and thirty year notes all saw selling today. There have been recent instances where both bonds and equities have dropped on the same day, but it is rare. We usually see contrary movement, with sinking bonds confirming rising equities and that is exactly what we got today. The data for inflows and outflows of funds between stocks and bonds shows just the opposite for the month of January. It is estimated that funds investing primarily in U.S. equities saw an outflow of over $5 billion in January, while bond funds saw an inflow of $3.8 billion over the last two weeks. With bonds rallying as stocks sunk during those last two weeks, we may now be seeing a reallocation back in the other direction by those institutions that are either taking profits, or taking advantage of the stretch in prices. One sector that many traders use to confirm broad market movements is the Semiconductor group. These stocks tend to reflect overall tech demand and recent action has shown little strength. The Semiconductor Industry Association this morning released data that showed the first month over month decline in global semiconductor sales in several months. For the year, the industry saw just 1.3% growth, which makes the accompanying prediction for growth of 19.8% in 2003 seem a little lofty. Traders apparently didn't seem too impressed by the prediction either, and the Semiconductor Index remained mostly flat following the release. This sector is getting tougher to predict after falling 120 points from its December high of 393. Last week's warning from Applied Materials (AMAT) that its orders would drop 35% this quarter sent the SOX down another leg, where it bounced strongly from 360, but remains below previously strong support at 280. It's clear from the statements accompanying most recent earnings releases that IT spending has not yet turned the corner and the SOX seemed to be entering a free-fall area between 280 and the low 200s. However, the drop has slowed and we seem to be suspended in space. The fact that it has not rebounded with the broader markets the last couple of days can be seen as bearish and I would be hesitant to go long the sector. Still, the second leg of the big breakdown has not occurred. The Market Volatility Index (VIX) also saw a drop today and is now below the 35 level that has been pivotal in recent months. That 35% resistance level had capped equity market drops and was broken on the most recent plunge. After topping out at 40%, it has crept lower, in spite of the recently large intraday moves. The move back under 35% indicates we are seeing some of the downside fear dissipate as we have settled into a range and tested the upside of that range today. As long as we test the upside, we can expect to see the VIX continue its descent. Those traders holding straddles are likely suffering these days and will continue to do so until we break in one direction or another. Until then, the best strategy will be buying small dips and selling small rallies against the positions in order to make up for the time decay. Chart of the VIX Point and figure charts are beginning to give us some bullish signals, with the Dow, OEX, SPX and NDX all reversing back up into bullish columns of "X." However, only the Dow has managed to break above its most recent rebound high and the bullish percents for all of these remain in reverse mode. Once again, conflicting signals as to where we are headed next. Today's bottom line seems to be a tepid attempt at a rebound. We are getting bullish signs after a big drop, but we are still range bound at sub-breakdown levels and very light volume ahead of this week's events. It is difficult to determine whether we are just taking a breath before the next leg down, or building support for a rebound from the late-January sell-off. We are likely to remain on hold throughout much of the day Tuesday. We will get Cisco's earnings after the bell and then the Powell presentation on Wednesday. Following that presentation, we are likely to have a better idea of whether the U.S. has worldwide support, or if we will be going it alone. In either case, once the picture becomes clearer, we should break out of the current range and get a better signal on where the trend goes from here. ************ FUTURES WRAP ************ Green, but not Golden By John Seckinger jseckinger@OptionInvestor.com All three futures contracts might have finished higher on Monday, but it should not be smooth sailing for bulls. It should take only slight weakness to drastically change the trading landscape. Monday, February 3rd at 4:15 P.M. Contract Last Net Change High Low Volume Dow Jones 8109.82 +56.01 8152.08 8053.74 YM03H 8077.00 +30.00 8129.00 8050.00 21,839 Nasdaq-100 987.07 +4.02 997.56 981.37 NQ03H 986.00 +1.50 998.50 979.00 206,885 S&P 500 860.32 +4.62 864.64 855.70 ES03H 858.50 +3.75 864.00 854.00 570,583 Contract S2 S1 Pivot R1 R2 Dow Jones 8006.89 8058.36 8105.22 8156.69 8203.55 YM03H 8006.00 8042.00 8085.00 8121.00 8164.00 Nasdaq-100 972.48 979.78 988.67 995.97 1004.86 NQ03H 968.25 977.25 987.75 996.75 1007.25 S&P 500 851.28 855.80 860.22 864.74 869.16 ES03H 851.00 855.00 859.50 863.00 867.75 Weekly Levels Contract S2 S1 Pivot R1 R2 YM03H 7719.00 7883.00 8012.00 8176.00 8305.00 NQ03H 930.00 957.25 992.25 1019.25 1054.25 ES03H 821.00 838.00 852.75 869.75 884.50 Monthly Levels (January's High, Low, and Close) Contract S2 S1 Pivot R1 R2 YM03H 7237.00 7642.00 8253.00 8658.00 9269.00 NQ03H 875.75 930.25 1019.25 1073.75 1162.75 ES03H 775.00 814.75 876.00 915.75 977.00 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. Recapping his signals: Short 859.25, exit 856.25, change +3.00 Total for the session: +3.00 Total for the week: +3.00 For information on the Futures Monitor and Jim Brown'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. http://www.OptionInvestor.com/itrader/marketbuzz/download.asp The March E-mini S&P 500 Contract (ES03H) Beginning with a more intermediate-term outlook, the ES contract failed to test the December 31st low of 686 after managing to trade over its daily R1 area of 862.75 (read: failure). The 50% retracement of the move from October to December comes in at 861, and a close underneath this area adds to the bearishness. Also bearish is the fact that the SPX contract traded within its "resistance zone" of 861 to 870, and then closed below the 861 area (860.32). The only positive was that prices stayed generally above the 19.1% retracement area of the decline in January (855.75). I definitely expect more weakness underneath this area. The daily S1 is 855. Note: The weekly pivot is at 852.75, and additional weakness should take place if this level is cleared to the downside as well. Also interesting is that R2 is 867.75 and just under the aforementioned December 31st low. Definitely a level to watch. I will use an intermediate "zone of resistance" in the ES from 867.75 to 872.50. If weakness takes the ES contract under the "zone of support" from 837-839, the downside objective will be for a move to the 829 area. Chart of ES03H, 120-minute Looking at a five-minute chart of the ES contract, a move under 855 should change the scope the bullish regression channel and give bears more confident. Such weakness should be a catalyst for a move to S2 at 851. A very tight range on Tuesday between S2 and R2 (851 to 867.75); therefore, be patient if the market starts to go into "range trade" mode. MACD, on this short-term timeframe, appears to be ready to go lower as well. As a side note: Following the 4:15 close, the ES contract traded exactly at 861 and has since pulled back to 858. It is definitely nice to see technical analysis continue to work (grin). Chart of ES03H, 5-minute Bullish Percent of SPX: 45.69% and even on the day for Monday. The column of O’s remains at 10. There is still a solid chance the bullish percent will 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. Looking at P&F analysis, the SPX contract reversed back into a column of X's on Monday, but the bearish price objective stays at 750. A move above 870 would give a buy signal. 870 is the top of the "resistance zone" noted above. The March E-mini Nasdaq 100 Contract (NQ03H) The same theory stated for Monday's trading applies for Tuesday. The NDX is in "sell-signal" mode with bearish objective of 825, and the NQ failed to test 1000 but did close above the 983 area (50% level). The overnight weakness also failed to take out the 978.50 relative low (see chart below). If the 978.50 to 983 area is cleared, the objective will be for a move to the Weekly S1 level at 957.25. If bulls can keep prices higher, look for bids above the 1000 area towards the 1019 to 1025 area. Looking at the daily chart below, the apex of the long liquidation pattern (lowercase "b") comes in just above this 1024.50 area. Chart of NQ03H, Daily Staying with the NQ, a 120-minute chart, aggressive bears on Tuesday can look for weakness under 983 - especially since this level is below the daily pivot. As I have done in the past, taking a 50% retracement of a retracement area can give a trader an idea of support/resistance. Using that technique below, resistance is confirmed at 1000; however, the 962 area is a little bit above the weekly S1 reading. If, on a five-minute chart, prices fall under 962 and then CLOSE above during that period, shorts can get flat and re-evaluate conditions. The range from S2 to R2 is very tight (1007 to 968.25), and this should emphasize the likelihood of bears covering near the 960 level. Chart of NQ03H, 120-minute Bullish Percent for NDX: This indicator fell 1% to 46% on Monday, and continues to portend bears will be selling rallies going forward. There column of "O's" is now at ten. Note: The NDX gave a sell signal, according to P&F charts, as the 975 area was penetrated. The bearish objective now stands at 825. The March Mini-sized Dow Contract (YM03H) The YM contract appeared ready to take out the 8143 resistance area after the ISM report on Monday; however, the bullish sentiment faded and bears were able to cap the short-lived enthusiasm. I am still looking for either a CLOSE under the 'zone of support' from 7936 to 7946, or above 'zone of resistance' from 8143 to 8165 area. Note: 8176 is the weekly R1 level, but I would be not be comfortable with this level being traded. If it is traded, I would wait to go short on a move back under 8143. Moreover, a move above 8165 could easily become the catalyst for a move to the monthly pivot of 8253. Yes, not too much has changed since Friday. As far as the downside is concerned, the daily S2 comes in at 8006 and above the weekly pivot of 8012. Therefore, a move under 8006 should then turn the area from 8006 to 8012 into resistance. Chart of YM03H, 90-minute Bullish Percent of Dow Jones: A P&F chart for the Dow actually did a positive breakout on Monday, rising four boxes to 8150 and eclipsing the last high of a column of X's. The bullish price objective is now 8600, completely canceling out the recent 7000 objective. As far as the bullish percent is concerned, it remains at the 'magical' 30.00% level, and the column of O’s now stands at 15. This is significant relative weakness, and note that the bullish percent of the NYSE has just turned into a column of "O's," and could be a sledgehammer of the Dow. Remember, a close underneath 30% should start to shift risk into the bears' camp. Good Luck. Questions are welcomed, John Seckinger jseckinger@OptionInvestor.com ******************** INDEX TRADER SUMMARY ******************** Gains hold, despite fade into the close The major indexes held on to post gains for the session, as early morning gains from stronger than expected economic data on construction spending and growth in the industrial sector gave investors something other than "war with Iraq" to be focusing on. President Bush's 5-volume budget proposal may have made for a difficult read among the fiscally conservative as stocks gave back part of their early session gains into their close after President Bush submitted his $2.23 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2004, calling on lawmakers in Congress to boost spending on defense and overhauling key social programs while enacting near $670 billion tax cuts over the next 10-years. President Bush said, "The budget for 2004 meets the challenges posed by three national priorities. Winning the war against terrorism, securing the homeland and generating long-term economic growth." The PHLX Defense Index (DFX.X) 147.38 -0.64% held rather firm despite today's weakness in sector components Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) $48.02 -11.66%, Boeing (NYSE:BA) $31.11 -1.51% and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) $49.55 -2.93% after this weekend's Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy. Near-term concern regarding NASA's spending was partially offset by the Pentagon's budget request totaling $379.9 billion, a 4.2% increase from this year's current fiscal year budget, which doesn't include additional funds that would be needed in the event of war with Iraq. The $15.3 billion increase in defense spending accounts for half of the overall proposed spending increase for the entire federal government. Today's trade saw lighter volume that traders have seen in recent weeks with NYSE volume at 1.21 billion shares, while NASDAQ volume turned 1.26 billion shares traded. Breadth was marginally positive on the NYSE with advancers outnumbering decliners by a narrow 17 to 15 margin, while NASDAQ breadth was weak with decliners having the upper hand on advancing issues by a 17 to 14 margin. While total breadth was positive at the NYSE and negative at the NASDAQ, similar daily results were found in the category of new highs versus new lows. NYSE reported 74 stocks trading a new 52- week high compared to 39 stocks achieving a new 52-week low, while NASDAQ ended the day with 60 stocks recording a new 52-week high trade compared to 67 stocks trading a new 52-week low. In today's 03:15 EST Intra-day update I made note of today's breadth indicators with the thought that market makers on the NASDAQ might be a little "bearish" or have a bit of a sell side bias toward 4-lettered stocks they make markets in. While the major indexes did trade their daily R1 levels from DAILY pivot analysis, the NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) 987.07 +0.4% session high was 997.12, just barely above today's R1 of 996. However, the NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) $24.49 +0.2% fell suspiciously short of its DAILY R1 of $24.81 with a session high trade of $24.79 and may indeed hint that this "hedge security of choice" among NASDAQ market makers may be seeing some sell-side bias as market makers look to hedge some "overly long" inventories in stocks they make markets for. Here's a quick look at our pivot analysis matrix. Subscribers will note that I've added a "Points from Pivot" column to the matrix to provide quick reference to where the major indexes closed TODAY, relative to their DAILY, WEEKLY or MONTHLY pivots. Also note that the WEEKLY levels have been updated to reflect last week's high, low and close as have the MONTHLY pivots and level to reflect January's high, low and closing values. Pivot Analysis Matrix Friday's close saw the major indexes all close above today's pivots, and today's pivot levels held as support or were not tested. The NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) did test its daily pivot of 982 and QQQ tested its pivot of $24.41, but neither were able to muster a 5-minute close below these levels. Tomorrow's DAILY pivots may come into play early and dictate market action ahead of tomorrow's post-market earning's announcement from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) $13.48 +0.82%. Dow Industrials Chart - Daily Interval In "red," I've taken retracement from this month's R2 and S2 levels, while in "blue" taken retracement from this week's R2 and S2. This type of retracement work gives some levels that look to be a range between 8,050 and 8,285 for the Dow Industrials, where a continuation "oversold bounce" could well see a test of the 8,285 level. The 8,050 level has been a level where the Dow has been flip flopping back and for of and settled at/near on Friday's close. Almost as if the Dow is trying to seek out the equilibrium of this week's pivot. Tomorrow will be interesting and here's what I'd look for as it relates to the Dow, as well as other indexes. I'm not sure if market makers in the NASDAQ tipped their hands today when the QQQ couldn't trade their daily R1's, while the major indexes did, but any weakness early tomorrow back below the 8,042 WEEKLY pivot level (say 8,032 to be safe) would be a negative in my book and have the Dow vulnerable to this WEEK's S2 of 7,801. The Dow does have the look of near-term bullishness and today's trade at 8,150 did generate a "double-top" buy signal on the Dow's p/f chart and may have some rally potential back near the 8,285 level of correlative resistance from the above retracement. I went back and looked at some of last week's Index Trader Wraps and make note that we were looking for resistance in the Dow near 8,300 as Stochastics (5,3,3) recovered from "oversold" levels back near 50. Today's action saw no net change in the Dow Industrials Bullish % ($BPINDU) and current reading remains "bear confirmed" at 30%. On Friday, the Dow Bullish % saw a net loss of 2 stocks to reversing point and figure sell signals as it fell from Thursday's reading of 36.67% to Friday's 30.0%. In Friday night's Market Monitor, I posted the updated pivot analysis matrix, and also took the opportunity to post similar retracement work performed above in the Dow, with the S&P 100 Index (OEX.X). Friday night, I thought the OEX looked a "little neutral" near-term as this silly index closed right on this WEEK's pivot of 432.50, but shouldn't have traded much more than 436 today, otherwise, it had rally potential to 442-444. Here's what I'm looking at and if the OEX were to make another move higher tomorrow and take out today's high of 438 (tomorrow's DAILY R1) then I think the OEX can make it into the 442-444 zone before a resumption of downward trend resumes. S&P 100 Index Chart - Daily interval The OEX traded 437 three separate times today and just couldn't manage a break-through much above that level with a high of 437.92. Tomorrow's early session will have me monitoring the OEX at its daily R1 of 438, which marks today's highs, should the OEX fail a rally at that level, then back below its DAILY pivot of 435, I'd look short/put on the break lower. Today's action saw no net change in the S&P 100 Bullish % ($BPOEX). Status remains "bear confirmed" at 43%. Friday's action did see the OEX Bullish % fall from 45% to 43%. Keep an eye on the U.S. Dollar Index (dx00y) 99.83 -0.08% as I think an index BEAR wants to see weakness in the U.S. Dollar. On an OEX break back below the DAILY pivot of 435, the correlative level of 432.50 becomes a bear's first "hurdle" of support he/she would want to see broken to the downside. I would not be an "eager" short/put in the OEX on a break lower of 435 on any type of dollar strength. For those than can also monitor treasuries, I'd think an index bear would also want to see buying in Treasuries. Treasuries saw more selling in the shorter-dated maturities today, with fractional buying in the longer-dated 30-year Treasury. This action hints of some "YIELD bulls" looking to still park some cash in the higher YIELDing 30-year and may hint that investors are willing to assume "greater risk" in the 30-year Treasury for the higher YIELD, while trying to avoid some type of "risk" in equities. In summary, a weak dollar, buying in bonds, has not been kind to equities and may be some markets away from the stock indexes to be monitoring. If we see a weak dollar, strength in bonds and start seeing some index levels violated to the downside, then a bear takes some action. The OPPOSITE could also be true for the Indexes to recover back to "zones" of resistance identified above in the Dow and OEX. S&P 500 Index Chart - Daily Interval Similar to the OEX, the SPX finished Friday's session smack dab on this week's pivot level of 654.51 and made for somewhat of a "neutral bias" into today's session. Better-than-expected economic data kept the SPX above this weeks pivot, and if not for some "bad news" and weakness in the HMO Index (HMO.X) 508 -3.14% and Morgan Stanley Healthcare Index (RXH.X) 270 -1.06, which generally depicts broader healthcare, the SPX and OEX would most likely have been today's index winners in percentage terms. Today's action saw no net change in the broader S&P 500 Bullish % ($BPSPX). Status remains "bull correction" at 46%. NASDAQ-100 Index Tracking Stock (QQQ) - Daily Interval Friday's "warning" on weaker than expected quarterly booking looks to have taken some of the "leadership" of relative strength out of the NASDAQ-100 and technology stocks. With "fears of war" weighing on investor psychology, some technology bulls may be parked on the sidelines for the awhile. Tomorrow night's earnings from Cisco (CSCO) will be closely monitored to see if this technology bellwether in the networking sector can buck the trend of "lackluster near-term growth prospects" that Intel (INTC) and Applied Materials (AMAT) have been mentioning. I'm looking for further QQQ weakness below $24.30, but wouldn't mind finishing tomorrow's trade ahead of CSCO's numbers with 1/2 bearish position. Then, should CSCO give modest upside surprise, will have some powder dry for potential bearish entry in the $25.31-$25.52 zone, with firm resistance near $26.00. Today's action saw the NASDAQ-100 Bullish % ($BPNDX) see a net loss of 1 stock to a reversing point and figure sell signal. This has the NASDAQ-100 Bullish % still "bear confirmed," but slipping to 46%. On Friday, the NASDAQ-100 Bullish % slipped an equal 1% from Thursday's 48%. Jeff Bailey ------------------------------------------------------------ WINNER of Forbes Best of the Web Award • optionsXpress voted Favorite Options Site by Forbes • Easy screens for spreads, collars, or covered calls • Free streaming quotes • Real-time option chains, charts + calculators Go to http://www.optionsxpress.com/marketing.asp?source=oetics21 Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm ------------------------------------------------------------ **************** WEEKLY FUND WRAP **************** Rollercoaster An up-down week on Wall Street produced further losses for stock mutual funds with the technology, international and gold sectors leading the decline. The threat of war with Iraq, concern over North Korea, and a listless economy continue to affect consumer and investor confidence. President Bush recognized the need to revive the economy, asking Congress to approve tax cuts but that wasn’t enough to spur the market. For the week ended Friday, January 31, 2003, the S&P 500 index of U.S. stocks lost 0.6 percent while the MSCI EAFE index of foreign stocks tumbled 2.3 percent in dollar terms. Domestic and foreign stock funds followed suit, with the average large-cap core equity fund down 0.6 percent and the average international fund down 2.1 percent over the 5-day period. Most U.S. diversified stock funds lost less than one percent for the week, according to Lipper. So perhaps not as bad as the week before when stock funds lost 2%-3% of their net asset value. The credit markets were lackluster too with the total bond market index (LB Aggregate) slipping 0.1 percent last week. The average intermediate-term bond fund had the same small weekly loss, using Lipper's number. Weekly losses were greater among domestic high- yield funds and international bond funds. The U.S. Fed last week voted to leave the key Fed Funds rate at 1.25 percent, its lowest level in a generation. Money market fund yields remain low with the average prime retail fund yielding just 0.8 percent today, per iMoneyNet.com (formerly known as IBC/Donoghue). Though yields are historically low, this fund group has achieved its main objectives of preserving capital and providing liquidity. U.S. Equity Fund Group Week YTD -0.6% -2.6% Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX) -0.3% -2.9% Vanguard MidCap Index Fund (VIMSX) -0.7% -2.7% Vanguard SmallCap Index Fund (NAESX) -0.6% -2.5% Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) -0.6% -2.6% Lipper Large-Cap Core Equity Fund Average -0.3% -2.0% Lipper Mid-Cap Core Equity Fund Average -0.8% -2.9% Lipper Small-Cap Core Equity Fund Average -0.7% -1.7% Lipper Multi-Cap Core Equity Fund Average -2.2% -0.6% Lipper Science & Technology Fund Average Diversified U.S. stock funds reported weekly losses of under one percent, comparable to index benchmarks. Some equity funds with heavy technology exposure lost more than two percent on the week including the $16 billion Fidelity Growth Company Fund, down 2.2 percent. Weekly declines for many funds would have been greater if the market didn't come back in Friday's session. Science and technology funds continued to struggle, declining by 2.2 percent on average. All of the Lipper U.S. equity fund averages are now in the red on a 2003 YTD basis. There were some pockets of strength, however. Some funds within the healthcare, energy and real estate sectors produced positive total returns. Putnam Health Sciences Fund, for example, was up 1.3 percent for the week, while Vanguard Energy Fund generated a weekly return of 1.7 percent for investors. Vanguard REIT Index Fund, meanwhile, finished the week up 1.8 percent, indicative of gains in that sector. International Equity Fund Group Week YTD -2.3% -4.2% Vanguard Developed Markets Index Fund (VDMIX) -1.2% +0.1% Vanguard Emerging Markets Index Fund (VEIEX) -2.1% -3.8% Vanguard Total International Stock Index (VGTSX) -2.1% -3.7% Lipper International Fund Average -0.6% -0.6% Lipper Emerging Markets Fund Average -4.4% +0.1% Lipper Gold Fund Average The Pacific stock index tumbled 5.5 percent last week, resulting in a 2.3 percent drop in the MSCI EAFE index. International and world stock funds with significant exposure to Japan and Pacific region were the hardest hit. For example, the Longleaf Partners International Fund (with 35 percent of assets in Japan as of the end of September) lost 4.1 percent over the 5-day period. Gold mutual funds declined by 4.4 percent on average, per Lipper, and are now flat on YTD 2003 basis thru Friday, January 31, 2003. The Vanguard Precious Metals Fund limited its weekly loss versus other gold/precious metals funds and holds on to a 3.3% YTD gain. U.S. Fixed Income Fund Group Week YTD -0.1% +0.0% Vanguard Short-Term Bond Index Fund (VBISX) -0.4% -0.4% Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund (VBIIX) -0.2% -0.2% Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index Fund (VBLTX) -0.1% +0.0% Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX) -0.0% +0.2% Lipper Short Investment-Grade Fund Average -0.1% +0.3% Lipper Intermediate Investment-Grade Fund Average -0.1% +0.2% Lipper Corporate A-Rated Debt Fund Average -0.3% +2.2% Lipper High Current Yield Fund Average -0.1% -0.1% Lipper U.S. Government Fund Average As you can see, bond funds lost value last week, but their losses were small, under a half percent. A few intermediate, investment grade funds, such as the One Group Bond Fund were a little harder hit. It produced a negative weekly return of 0.8 percent. A few bond funds eked out narrow gains. For instance, the $2.8 billion Fidelity Capital & Income Fund generated a weekly total return of 0.1 percent, compared with a 0.3-percent loss by the average high yield fund. International Fixed Income Fund Group Week YTD -0.7% +1.3% Lipper Global Income Fund Average -0.9% +2.0% Lipper International Income Fund Average Global and international fixed income funds sustained losses too, with a few funds down more than one percent for the 5-day period including the $975 million T. Rowe Price International Bond Fund. The international bond fund bellwether lost 1.2 percent over the 5-day period to lead the group lower. Balanced Fund Group Week YTD -0.4% -1.5% Vanguard Balanced Index Fund (VBALX) -0.4% -1.5% Lipper Balanced Fund Average Balanced funds minimized weekly losses relative to pure equity funds, giving up just 0.4 percent on average for the week, per Lipper. Two of the nation's oldest and largest balanced funds, Vanguard Wellington and Fidelity Puritan, lost just 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, last week. Money Market Fund Group Yield 1.17% Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMMXX) 0.81% iMoneyNet.com All Taxable Money Market Fund Average Low-cost leader Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently has a 7-day simple yield of 1.17 percent, 38 basis points greater than the iMoneyNet.com all taxable MMF average. According to iMoneyNet.com, the highest current yield belongs to the PayPal Money Market Fund (402-935-7733). It sports a simple 7-day yield of 1.37 percent, down 3 basis points versus the week before. The Touchstone Money Market Fund (800-543-8721) is next with a 1.23% yield. Mutual Fund News The Investment Company Institute reported last week that mutual fund industry assets totaled $6.391 trillion as of December 31, 2002, a $583.7 billion decline from the $6.975 trillion mark at December 31, 2001. Below is a summary of the main asset groups per ICI's latest survey of mutual fund assets (www.ici.org). Stock Funds (Stock & Hybrid Funds): $2.995 Trillion December 31, 2002 $3.765 Trillion December 31, 2001 $0.770 Trillion Net Decrease in 2002 (-20.5%) Bond Funds (Taxable & Municipal Funds): $1.125 Trillion December 31, 2002 $0.925 Trillion December 31, 2001 $0.200 Trillion Net Increase in 2002 (+21.6%) Money Market Funds (Taxable & Municipal Funds): $2.272 Trillion December 31, 2002 $2.285 Trillion December 31, 2001 $0.013 Trillion Net Decrease in 2002 (-0.1%) All Mutual Funds: $6.391 Trillion December 31, 2002 $6.975 Trillion December 31, 2001 $0.584 Trillion Net Decrease in 2002 (-8.4%) You can see that total mutual fund assets dropped approximately $584 billion, or 8.4 percent, in 2002, with a $200 billion rise in bond fund assets partially offsetting the $770 billion stock fund asset decrease. Money market fund assets were up and down throughout 2002, finishing the year little changed from December 31, 2001. In spite of historically low yields, the money market fund group remains the second largest mutual fund class - representing more than a third of total industry assets at December 31, 2002 using ICI's figures. So, principal preservation and capital liquidity continue to be popular mutual fund objectives. AP Online reported last week that the SEC is mulling more mutual fund reforms aimed at tightening internal controls within mutual fund companies. These proposals reportedly would open to public review the notion of creating a "self-policing organization" for the mutual fund industry. The additional reforms came less than a week after the SEC voted (over industry objections) to require mutual funds to disclose their proxy-voting results to investors. Steve Wagner Editor, Mutual Investor firstname.lastname@example.org ************** TRADERS CORNER ************** The Next Rally by Mark Phillips mphillips@OptionInvestor.com Readers that are used to my weekly dose of bearish commentary are right now asking themselves, "What did he say?" In fact it was just last week that I made the case for lower levels ahead in the broad market due to the confluence of negative factors, from the economy, to the coming war, to bullish percent readings, PnF Sell signals and other technical indicators. So what the heck am I talking about? Don't worry, I'm not talking about my expectations for an abrupt reversal in the market and challenging the recent highs before we know if Punxatawny Phil was right about his indication of another 6 weeks of winter. Trading is 90% preparation and 10% execution. So while we're enjoying the fruits of our past analysis as we ride the market lower, now seems as good a time as any to start locating targets to play on the upside when the appropriate factors are satisfied for the next tradable bottom in the market. That way the action plan is in place and we won't have to frantically scramble for long play candidates when the market eventually turns, as we know it eventually will. So where do we go to find those candidates? There are as many answers to that question as there are traders. Some traders just trade the indices, and that certainly simplifies the process for them. But what about those of us that like to play individual equities, either with options or by buying the actual shares? In case you didn't know it, OI has put together a list that certainly deserves consideration, at least as a starting point. Last September, when the market was still falling into the abyss, Jim Brown wisely suggested that we start identifying stocks that should do well in a strong market rebound. Over a period of a couple months, we built a list of a couple dozen stocks that appeared to fit that bill, and were reasonably inexpensive for those that are working with a smaller account. In the ensuing market rally off the October lows, some soared, while others just yawned and played dead. In fact, a couple of them went the other way. As any experienced trader knows, you can't be right all the time. But there are a few of them that delivered some handsome returns during the October-December timeframe. Not only that, but a small handful have retained the lion's share of those gains, even during the recent market swoon. I know what you're thinking. "All right Mark, big deal. What has that got to do with the NEXT rally?" To which I respond, "Everything!" Would you say it might stand to reason that a stock that outperformed the market during the latest rally and then held onto the bulk of those gains might be exhibiting some relative strength? Bingo! Sitting at the top of that list is CTXS, which we originally listed at $7.20, and is currently sitting almost 100% higher at $14.11. Other notable winners on the list are PSFT, GNSS and NXTL, which are all boasting 50% or better gains from when we first listed them. Another stock on the list that I would consider taking another run at is NVDA, as it skyrocketed with the rest of the market before getting pounded lower with the rest of the Semiconductor sector in recent weeks. But I think the potential exists for the stock to give us another impressive run. So much so, that I listed it as a new LEAPS Call play last weekend. If you missed my comments over the weekend and have an interest, take a look at the LEAPS column for an idea of what I'm thinking. While I'm on the topic of the LEAPS column, I'll plug another pick we added last weekend, QCOM. One of the darlings of the tech boom of 1999-2000, QCOM is starting to look healthy again, both on a technical and fundamental basis. So how do we put any of these ideas to work? Alas, it's actually going to take a bit of work on your part. Hey, I can't give it all away! My goal is to teach you how to fish, not just feed you. But I think walking you through my thought process on just one of these stocks will give you an idea of the type of research that you can apply to each of these potential candidates over the next few weeks so that you can put that plan of action together in advance of the next tradable bottom. Let's take the first stock I listed, CTXS and look at it in greater detail, ok? I haven't shown it here, but the stock has been amazingly resilient over the past month, holding very near its recent highs. To really see the stock's strength, I prefer to look at a relative strength chart, comparing CTXS to the NASDAQ Composite (COMPX). RS Chart of CTXS vs. NASDAQ Composite Not only did the stock outperform the COMPX throughout the October-November timeframe, but has continued to do so, even with the broad market giving a series of bearish signals. In fact, over the past week, the RS chart has broken out to the upside, moving to its highest level in over a year! With strength like that, there has to be an underlying cause, don't you think? The company's last earnings report does offer a clue, as they blew away estimates on both earnings and revenues. But that really isn't enough to explain it. We've seen numerous other companies outperform with respect to earnings lately and most have been rewarded by a vicious round of selling. Why isn't that the case with CTXS? Well, when I want that sort of answer, I always turn to the PnF chart, and there we get a really big clue. The launch out of the base down in the $5-7 range created a huge column of X, that gives us the current vertical count of $35. Wow! Ok, I realize that could be negated by a trade at $12, so I decided to take a look at the bigger picture. Rather than use the standard $0.50 box size, I backed up to the $1 box size and did a vertical count off of that column of X. That Buy signal was generated when CTXS traded above $14, and the current vertical count comes out very to the standard one, with a target of $33. Hmmm, maybe there is still some significant demand in the stock. That fact is certainly borne out by the tremendous ramp up in On Balance Volume from October thru December, and that indicator isn't showing much weakness at all right now. So what we have is strong financial performance, outperformance relative to the broad market and a supply/demand chart that is showing a significant bias towards demand. Oh, and by the way, using the $1 box size, it would take a break below $4 (which I consider very unlikely) to negate that bullish price target of $33. Using the standard $0.50 box size, it would require a trade at $12 to generate a PnF Sell signal and negate the $35 bullish price target. Take a look at a daily chart of CTXS over the past 2 months and you can see how that $12 level has been repeatedly defended, especially throughout the month of December. Since we're looking for a play that we think has the potential to significantly outperform the rest of the market, let's look at the weekly chart and see if we can determine areas of congestion that are likely to present resistance. Weekly Chart of CTXS Clearly, CTXS is now finding resistance near $15 and for good reason. But based on its relative strength, I expect that to be broken when the broad market finds its legs again. Next up is the $18-20 range, followed by $25, then $30, and finally with major resistance at $35. Isn't it interesting how that level lines up with the target generated from the PnF chart? To be sure, there are no guarantees. Any number of negative developments could occur to negate the bullish potential that I see in this stock right now. And don't make the mistake of thinking that it won't be affected in the near-term by a continued decline in the broad market. A drop back near $12 is probably a given before the broad market bottoms and the bullish percent charts start to show improvement rather than the recent deterioration. Remember my column a few weeks ago where I postulated that technology stocks were those most likely to outperform in the year ahead. Have you noticed that the bullish percent for the COMPX is still Bull Confirmed? Not only that, but the COMPX has not given a PnF Sell signal either, whereas all the other major indices have. Coincidence? I think not! So what we've managed to identify is a strong stock in a relatively strong sector of the market that looks like it has the potential to continue to outperform the next time the bulls come out to play with conviction. Some of the other stocks listed in the Stock Play section of the website may offer equally strong possibilities on the next major rally. Now dust off your mice and get to work, finding those strong candidates. You've got some time to find them and then we can continue the waiting game together. How do you like that, I wrote a bullish column today! GRIN By the way, in case you've never looked at the list of Stock plays on the OI site, it's reasonably easy to find. Just look for the "Stocks" link under the "Strategies" header on the Home page. All of the individual writeups are there for us to review, giving us a solid place to start in our research. This list has another benefit as well. We can find those stocks that DID NOT perform in the October-December rally, and avoid those stocks on the next rally. They've made it clear to us that relatively speaking, they are weak and therefore don't deserve our bullish consideration. Good Luck! Mark ------------------------------------------------------------ VOTED one of "Best Online Brokers" (4 stars)--Barron's • optionsXpress's "order-entry screens...go far beyond... other online broker sites"--Barron's • 8 different online tools for options pricing, strategy, and charting • Access to options specialists via email, phone or live chat online • Real-Time Buying Power, Account Balances or Cancels Go to http://www.optionsxpress.com/marketing.asp?source=oetics22 Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm ------------------------------------------------------------ *********************** SWING TRADER GAME PLANS *********************** Same Old, Same Old We got more of the same today, with a range bound market taking a break ahead of further developments on the global front. To read the rest of the Swing Trader Game Plan Click here: http://www.OptionInvestor.com/itrader/indexes/swing.asp ------------------------------------------------------------ We got trailing stops! • Trade online with trailing stops at optionsXpress, at no extra cost • Trailing stops based on the option price or the stock price • Also place Contingent, Stop Loss, and "One Cancels Other" orders • $1.50 /contract (10+ contracts) or $14.95 Minimum--NO Hidden Fees! Go to http://www.optionsxpress.com/marketing.asp?source=oetics23 Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm ------------------------------------------------------------ ******************* FREE TRIAL READERS ******************* If you like the results you have been receiving we would welcome you as a permanent subscriber. The monthly subscription price is 39.95. The quarterly price is 99.95 which is $20 off the monthly rate. We would like to have you as a subscriber. You may subscribe at any time but your subscription will not start until your free trial is over. To subscribe you may go to our website at www.OptionInvestor.com and click on "subscribe" to use our secure credit card server or you may simply send an email to "Contact Support" with your credit card information,(number, exp date, name) or you may call us at 303-797-0200 and give us the information over the phone. 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The Option Investor Newsletter Monday 02-03-2003 Copyright 2003, All rights reserved. 2 of 2 Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited. In Section Two: Stop Loss Updates: SYMC Dropped Calls: None Dropped Puts: None Play of the Day: Put - CCMP Updated on the site tonight: Market Posture: Gearing Up Market Watch: Ready, Aim... ------------------------------------------------------------ WINNER of Forbes Best of the Web Award • optionsXpress voted Favorite Options Site by Forbes • Easy screens for spreads, collars, or covered calls • Free streaming quotes • Real-time option chains, charts + calculators Go to http://www.optionsxpress.com/marketing.asp?source=oetics21 Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm ------------------------------------------------------------ ***************** STOP-LOSS UPDATES ***************** SYMC - call Adjust from $44 up to $45 ************* DROPPED CALLS ************* None ************ DROPPED PUTS ************ None ------------------------------------------------------------ optionsXpress has "...a lot of bang for the buck."--Barron's • $1.50 /contract (10+ contracts) or $14.95 Min. No hidden fees • Easy screens for spreads, collars, or covered calls! • Contingent, Stop Loss, Trailing stop, or OCO • 8 different online tools for options pricing, strategy, and charting Go to http://www.optionsxpress.com/marketing.asp?source=oetics25 Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm ------------------------------------------------------------ ********************* PLAY OF THE DAY - PUT ********************* CCMP - Cabot Microelectronics $42.90 -1.00 (-1.00 this week) Company Summary: Cabot Microelectronics, headquartered in Aurora, Illinois, USA, is the world leader in the development and supply of high- performance polishing slurries used for chemical mechanical planarization (CMP), a process that enables the manufacture of the most advanced integrated circuit (IC) devices and hard disk drive components. (source: company press release) Why We Like It: The difficulties facing the chip equipment sector were underscored on Friday morning when Applied Materials warned that it expects to see a 35% reduction in first-quarter orders. Previous guidance was for a decline of only 20%. The company cited "ongoing economic weakness and geopolitical uncertainties (and) deferred capital expenditures" as the reasons for the slippage in expectations. Just about any business can blame poor sales and orders on the poor economy and Iraq-related war concerns. The poor capex spending also comes as no surprise. As we said last night, Intel had already made it clear that companies such as AMAT would be receiving less of their money for equipment upgrades. Investors were nonetheless disappointed with this morning's news. The SOX.X gapped lower and quickly reached a relative low of 261. CCMP joined the sector in the downward gap and opened below our entry trigger at $44.69. This play was activated at the initial trade of $43.70. Short-covering then took the stock into positive territory before the bears reasserted themselves. CCMP finished with a 2.0% loss, easily underperforming the SOX.X. That relative weakness is understandable when you consider that the stock is trading well above its next clear level of support on the daily chart. Now that the $45.00 support region has given way we think chances are good that shares could soon test psychological support at $40.00. However, because our entry point is lower than we'd anticipated, we need to make an according adjustment to our stop-loss. Our stop is now set at $46.93, two cents above the rising 100-dma. More conservative traders could use a stop slightly above the 200-dma at $45.75. New entries can be targeted on a move under today's low of $43.30 or on another failed rally at $45.00. Why This is our Play of the Day Despite a moderate lift in the broad market on Monday, the Semiconductor sector (SOX.X) continued to be under pressure following the grim news from AMAT Friday morning. While the slight loss of ground by the SOX (-0.43%) was nothing for the bears to crow about, there was some notable technical damage inflicted in individual chip stocks. Our CCMP play was one of the standout losers, as it shed more than 2%, breaking below Friday's lows in the process. This solidifies resistance at the top of Friday's gap ($44.83), which was just above the stock's intraday high of $44.70. Just above there, we still have the converged 10-dma ($45.86) and 200-dma ($45.65), which reinforces that resistance. The best case for new entries will come on subsequent failed rallies, either at the top of that gap or near those moving averages. Those traders who prefer to enter on weakness can target a breakdown under $42.75, but need to keep in mind the possibility of an oversold bounce near the $40 level. BUY PUT FEB-45*UKR-NI OI=1516 at $3.50 SL=1.75 BUY PUT MAR-45 UKR-OI OI= 207 at $5.10 SL=3.00 Average Daily Volume = 1.04 mil ------------------------------------------------------------ Quit paying fees for limit orders or minimum equity • No hidden fees for limit orders or balances • $1.50 /contract (10+ contracts) or $14.95 minimum. • Zero minimum deposit required to open an account • Free streaming quotes Go to http://www.optionsxpress.com/marketing.asp?source=oetics24 Note: Options involve risk. Risk disclosure: http://www.optionsxpress.com/welcome_risk_index.htm ------------------------------------------------------------ ************** MARKET POSTURE ************** Gearing Up To Read The Rest of The OptionInvestor.com Market Watch Click Here http://www.OptionInvestor.com/marketposture/mp_020303.asp ************ MARKET WATCH ************ Ready, Aim... To Read The Rest of The OptionInvestor.com Market Watch Click Here http://members.OptionInvestor.com/watchlist/wl_020303.asp ******************* FREE TRIAL READERS ******************* If you like the results you have been receiving we would welcome you as a permanent subscriber. The monthly subscription price is 39.95. The quarterly price is 99.95 which is $20 off the monthly rate. We would like to have you as a subscriber. You may subscribe at any time but your subscription will not start until your free trial is over. To subscribe you may go to our website at www.OptionInvestor.com and click on "subscribe" to use our secure credit card server or you may simply send an email to "Contact Support" with your credit card information,(number, exp date, name) or you may call us at 303-797-0200 and give us the information over the phone. 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