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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 09/17/2003

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 09-17-2003
Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section One:

Wrap: U.S. Markets Stall
Futures Wrap: Dolor for the Dollar
Index Trader Wrap: Not enough umph
Traders Corner: Still Seeking Clarity


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
*******************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
*******************************************************************
     09-17-2003            High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA     9545.65 - 21.69  9594.43  9536.81 1.63 bln   1299/1507
NASDAQ   1883.10 -  4.15  1894.74  1876.24 1.88 bln   1498/1555
S&P 100   515.43 -  1.93   518.56   514.96   Totals   2797/3062
S&P 500  1025.97 -  3.35  1031.34  1024.53
RUS 2000  515.10 -  0.56   516.71   513.29
DJ TRANS 2761.20 - 12.18  2773.38  2757.84
VIX        19.62 +  0.31    20.14    19.47
VXN        31.75 +  0.09    32.51    31.17
Total Volume 3,867M
Total UpVol  1,798M
Total DnVol  1,962M
52wk Highs     648
52wk Lows       20
TRIN          1.02
PUT/CALL      0.74
*******************************************************************

U.S. Markets Stall
by James Brown

It was somewhat of a quiet day on Wall Street as U.S. stocks
generally slipped lower amid fresh earnings warnings and a frenzy
of news coverage over the beleaguered NYSE Chairman Richard
Grasso.  Investors could be merely pausing to catch their breath
after Tuesday's afternoon rally but the general mood was
cautious, especially considering profit warnings from Du Pont and
the New York Times.

The big story this evening is NYSE Chairman Dick Grasso's
resignation.  Grasso, 57, ends a 36-year career with the NYSE
after disclosure of his $140 million deferred compensation lit a
firestorm he and the NYSE board were unable to quench.  Jim
predicted that his days were numbered yesterday after pension
fund managers from California, N. Carolina and New York all
stepped forward yesterday calling for his head.

Looking at the market action today the biggest event was the lack
of follow through on yesterday's post-FOMC rally.  The DJIA
traded in a tight 80-point range and lost 21 points after a
midday decline towards the 9450 level.  The NASDAQ Composite also
traded sideways in a 20-point range, failing twice at 1895
overhead before losing 4 points to close at 1883.  Overall U.S.
equity market losses were mild with Disk Drives, Hardware, Gold
and Biotechs managing to close in the green.  Meanwhile Asian
exchanges added onto yesterday's big gains with another triple-
digit rally for the NIKKEI to 10990 and a 68-point move to 11140
for the Hang Seng.  European bourses were marginally lower.

Market internals underscored the mellow profit taking with
declining stocks outnumbering advancers 1507 to 1299 on the NYSE
and 1555 to 1498 on the NASDAQ.  Volume numbers were mixed with
up volume edging past down volume 991M to 865M on the NASDAQ but
losing 775M to 832M on the NYSE.

Chart of the DJIA:




Chart of the NASDAQ:




Profit Warnings

Putting the brakes on the rally were profit warnings from Du
Pont, New York Times and Microchip.  Last night, Microchip (MCHP)
narrowed its Q2 revenue numbers to 2%-5% growth and said earnings
would likely come in around 17 cents compared to estimates of 16-
18 cents.  While not truly a warning, investors have been selling
stocks that don't deliver on the improving outlook their share
prices are based on.  Shares of MCHP lost 3.3 percent, the second
worst performer in the NASDAQ-100 behind Cintas (CTAS), -3.6
percent, who happens to be announcing earnings tomorrow morning
before the bell.  The New York Times (NYT) lost 3.7 percent and
closed below support at $43 after warning Q3 earnings would be
less than estimates blaming a weak advertising market.  Those not
familiar with the NYT may remember the disgrace over its reporter
Jayson Blair, who was ousted for his plagiarism and fictional
sources.  Probably the most notable warning today was Du Pont's
(DD).  This Dow component lost 3.4 percent after stating that
2003 earnings would be at the low end of previous forecasts.  The
chemical conglomerate said business had not picked up yet but was
hopeful about current signals pointing to a recovery in the
fourth quarter.

Tobacco on Fire

Shares of tobacco stocks were hot today with both RJR and MO up
double-digit percentage moves.  Shares of Altria Group,
previously known as Phillip Morris (MO), closed up 10.3% and
helped prevent the DJIA's losses from being a lot worse than they
could have been.  MO gapped higher after the Illinois Surpreme
Court decreased a bond set by a lower court from $12 billion to
$6 billion.  It's a tangled story but MO lost a fight over its
"light" cigarettes marketing and a Madison County court levied a
$10.1 billion judgment.  The judge first told MO that it would
have to post a $12 billion bond before it could appeal the
judgment, a feat that would likely force MO into bankruptcy.
Then after much negotiation the judge lowered the bond to just $6
billion.  A higher court said this judge overstepped his bounds
by lowered the bond amount and reset it to $12 billion.  Thus,
the Illinois Supreme Court decision was crucial for Altria Group
and essentially gave it a new lease on life sans bankruptcy
protection.  Meanwhile rival tobacco company R.J.Reynolds (RJR)
made big news after announcing it would cut 40 percent of its
workforce, some 2600 jobs, to reduce $1 billion in expenses by
the end of 2005.  RJR also said it would refocus its marketing
efforts on two of its four major brands, Camel and Salem, while
taking a $340 million charge for the reduction efforts.  The
stock gapped up at the open and close higher by 13.6% above its
simple 200-dma and its best close in over six months.

Tomorrow

Investors will have another round of economic reports to digest
on Thursday with the weekly unemployment claims and the leading
economic indicators.  Economists are hoping for a decline in
jobless claims from 422,000 to just 410,000.  These reports tend
to take on more and more meaning as Wall Street and Washington
become painfully aware of the weakening labor market.  Traders
will also have to deal with potential volatility ahead of
Friday's triple-witching option expiration.  Also worth noting
are a few earnings reports.  Reporting tomorrow is 3Com, Bear
Stearns, Nike, and Jabil Circuit.  You may also want to keep an
eye on your AOL stock.  The AOL Time Warner board meets tomorrow
and many on the street expect them to vote off its "AOL" prefix
and revert its stock symbol back TWX.

Watch those stop losses.


************
FUTURES WRAP
************

Dolor for the Dollar
Jonathan Levinson

The US Dollar Index spent the day seeking lower prices and
finding them as euro futures and commodity futures gained.  Bonds
were higher and equities retreated.

Daily Pivots (generated with a pivot algorithm and unverified):





15 minute chart of the US Dollar Index



The US Dollar Index got sold from its 1AM high, the decline
picking up speed with the 2PM release of the record US budget
deficit.  Support at 96 had held until then, and we saw
treasuries rally, gold and the CRB advance as equities retreated.
The CRB was led by strength in cotton, cocoa and coffee futures,
adding .80 to close at 238.47.


Daily chart of December gold



December gold had a good day on the US Dollar weakness,
attempting to regain the failed wedge trendline and pausing the
daily chart oscillators early in their downphases.  A gold bear
would write the bounce off to a "return to the scene of the crime
rally", which it might be, depending on whether tomorrow sees a
continuation of the advance above the trendline or a failure.
December gold was up 3.40 at 378 as of this writing, HUI +3.87 at
200.77, XAU + .76 at 93.19.

Daily chart of the ten year note yield



The TNX dropped 10 basis points today to close at 4.191%, below
the horizontal support line we've been following.  The oscillator
downphase on the yield picked up speed, and bond bulls remain on
track.  The move is particularly encouraging if it continues
tomorrow, as it would invalidate the bullish descending wedge
we've been following on the TNX chart.  The Fed added a paltry
250M net in overnight repos, refunding yesterday's expiring 2B
with a 2.25B overnight repo to expire tomorrow.


Daily NQ candles



The "hanging man harami" on the daily NQ failed to touch a new
high today, despite the morning's advance to within kissing
distance of last week's levels.   I had expected at least a stop-
running spike, but none came.  The jury is far from out, however,
due to the lack of depth on the pullback that ensued.  The
oscillators continue to reflect the bounc-within-a-downphase that
could see another push to the highs tomorrow.

I don't want to downplay the bearishness of today's session.  The
opening breadth on NQ was very overweighted to the buy side, with
a TRIN.NQ reading of .24 and put to call readings below .50.  The
failure of this level of bullishness to even reach the previous
highs is indicative of a great deal of supply at current levels,
just as the lack of pullback either indicates strong demand, or
patience on the part of sellers.  The market left us with a
cliffhanger today, hopefully to be resolved tomorrow.


30 minute 20 day chart of the NQ



The 30 minute NQ left off on an oscillator downphase just
beginning to show hints of aborting early.  Rising support at
1368 connecting the lows from last Friday was not tested, with
the higher lows painting a continuing bullish picture.  Bears
continue to have a benchmark from which to base their entries,
with the rally high at 1392.  Today's bounce failed at 1390.50.
1368 is the trendline and Fibonacci support that needs to fail
before the pattern of higher lows in this timeframe can be
written off.

Daily ES candles



The ES also failed to touch its previous high, printing the same
reversal candle on the daily chart on a spike to 1029.75.  The
bounce came from just below 1023, but had no luster, failing
repeatedly at 1024 and 1025 ES.  Once again, while it's possible
that the bears have their lower high, the lack of momentum on its
failure left us on uncertain ground.  The complication of option
expiration doesn't help, as it seems counterintuitive that the
indices will be closing near the high of their range, leaving a
relatively large number of calls in-the-money.

The cycle setup is the same as for the NQ, with the daily chart
oscillators pausing at the beginning stages of their downphase.

20 day 30 minute chart of the ES



The 1020 level remains the more significant support level, and it
wasn't tested today.  The lack of even stop runs to test the
highs or the lows paints an unpleasant picture of rangebound
action carrying into Friday, but it's more an intuition than a
conclusion.  The rising oscillator trendlines were violated
today, a bearish development, but until price cooperates, the
ball will remain in the bulls' court.

Daily YM candles



The setup on the YM is the same as for the ES.  Once again, 9500
was not seriously tested, let along range support at 9480, while
ES stopped shy of new highs, topping at 9558 today.


20 day 30 minute chart of the YM




The combination of lower yields and a lower dollar fits with what
we've seen earlier in the year, but the weakness in equities does
not.  There is no shortage of bearish news, but that has been the
case for a long time now.  The hurricane, whether strong or weak,
is not bullish news, nor is the weekend WTO failure, or the talk
of tariffs, or the Grasso affair, or the mutual fund scandals.
All eyes will be briefly upon initial claims, but increasingly,
equities appear to be a technical trade executed by robots.
Fundamentals, if they ever played a significant role in the short
term, seem even more distant.

I don't expect this to persist, but for the moment it is reality
for traders.  We will continue to watch the current range for a
breakout.  So long as the top continues to hold, it looks good
for bears, but the bulls' failure is insufficient for bears to
declare victory.  The selling will have to start soon in order to
avoid a consolidation of recent gains at current levels.


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

Not enough umph

I thought today was one of the more exciting sessions that we've
seen in awhile as I felt great pressure building, mostly from the
bearish camp, that the major indices might make a bold break
higher, but an anyone point in today's trade, there was something
lacking where buyers just couldn't muster conviction for a push
higher.

I must also say there wasn't enough of a catalyst to get bears to
further cover some short positions, as it relates to one of my
primary catalysts for a continuation move higher being a good
short-squeeze, which I think was largely due to yesterday's gains
after the FOMC meeting.

For the S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 1,025.97 -0.32% which finished down
3.3 points and the narrower S&P 100 Index (OEX.X) 515.43 -0.37%,
there just wasn't the "umph" from the S&P Banks Index (BIX.X)
304.81 -0.2% or the KBW Banks Index (BKX.X) 879.24 +0.14% to get
a good push from these two financial sectors.  The Securities
Broker/Dealer Index (XBD.X) 608.90 -0.63% slipped 3.9 points by
the close, only after this group of financials traded a second-
consecutive 52-week high of 619.72 in the first-half of the
session, but its tough to run forward when you're constantly
looking back over your shoulder for some support from your
friends.

S&P Banks Index (BIX.X) - Daily Interval




If there was one equity index that juuuuust didn't have some of
the bullishness I think needed to really get the major averages
to break some key levels of pivot analysis resistance in today's
trade, it was the BIX.X.

One pattern that I want to be aware of that I just noticed today
when trying to figure out why the BIX.X found suspicious trade at
305.99 (I always find penny trades suspicious as it hints that
somebody's eager just prior to a level) is a POTENTIAL
head/shoulder pattern, which only comes to my attention as we've
been noting how darned important 296 support, which could be a
neckline for the pattern, has been holding support in recent
months.

The one question we won't get until earning pre-announcement
season is in full swing is what impact higher lending rates
(caused by higher Treasury YIELDS) had on the quarter.  Was it
overly negative?  We know from our tracking of weekly Mortgage
Banker Association data that new applications and refinancing
dropped off notably from their spring fling.  The probe into
mutual fund dealing is currently underway and just beginning.
The POSITIVE starting to form was a rebound last week in the MBA
statistics and Treasury YIELDS starting to edge back.

Today's trade saw the benchmark 10-year YIELD ($TNX.X) fall 10.0
basis points to 4.191%, matching a relative yield low in early
August, with today's trade seeing this YIELD come very close to
our WEEKLY S1 of 4.145%.  Here too we may have seen some cash
that could have bought equities to new highs flow toward
Treasuries today, and that may have taken some of the "umph" out
of gains that could have pushed the major indexes to new highs.

Yesterday's gains for the dollar evaporated today with the U.S.
Dollar Index (dx00y) 96.81 -0.88% still trading and falling and
lower by 0.86 points.  Just as yesterday's gains were a rather
substantial move higher, today's declines for the dollar just as
notable.

We may think that some of my comments today that yesterday's
gains in the dollar was foreign capital moving to the U.S. ahead
of the FOMC report, and quickly leaving with a nice short-term
gain from yesterday's equity performance.  While this may be a
crazy thought to some, just remember what Stanford Professor
Zitzewits found from some of his research.  In a CNBC interview,
he said the bulk of the illegal after-hours trading was being
done if International Funds, where hedge funds were more actively
trading one-day trends based on a market's gyrations.  Is it
foolish to think foreign capital moves to the U.S. in one day for
a trade, to then book a 1% gain in equities to move on the next?
Professor Zitzewits's findings give the impression it may be a
more common practice than we think.  If a hedge fund is day
trading mutual funds, it is no different than buying DIA, SPY,
QQQ (or futures) for a day and selling the next on large scale.
Is it?

Oh.... It is LEGAL to trade DIA/SPY/QQQ and futures after 04:00
PM EST.

Speaking of futures and lack of "umph," I was using the S&P
futures contract (sp03z) with our newly fitted upside
retracement, along with a very simplistic intra-day retracement
technique to try and find that KEY level where a futures trade
might send the equity markets into a state of euphoric gains.
The pink and dark purple retracement brackets will be erased for
tomorrow, but here too there just wasn't enough "umph" to get the
move higher.  Here's a quick recap of that chart, with today's
session now complete.  I'm writing down, and have an upside alert
set at 1,029.90, say 1,030.00 for a good round number, in
combination with the 1,029.10 level already discussed.

S&P Futures (sp03z) - 5-minute bars




With some mixed economic data and more of a mindset that it would
be short-covering that would have the major indices being able to
break above the two key levels in the INDU and NDX discussed last
night, I was trying to identify a "trigger" level that might have
the markets jolting to new highs.

One benchmark on a closing basis for signs of further bullishness
is if the S&P futures (sp03z) can hold a close above 1,029.10,
which had 1,029.10 being settlement values for September 5 and 8.
Why the futures can't close that level remains a mystery, but
became a "fitted" retracement level that a curious trader marks.
After all the MARKET seems to think it important.

But the question for some traders today was.... C'mon Jeff!  If
you think I'm going to wait and see if the sp03z can close above
1,029.10 and when it settles 1,040 you then tell me we've got a
further bullish bias signal from the futures market, then you're
out of your mind!  Can you give me an action point to get long
these buggers just in case we sprint higher?

A rather crazy, but technique I found that seems to work pretty
good is to use your retracement tool with percentage levels set
as shown (we use the same on our other bar charts) where all we
do is monitor the first 5-minutes of trade (everyone has woken up
by then and ready to go) and immediately set retracement levels
as described.  Once you've got the first 5-minute bar, you're
simply taking that 5-minute range and defining up and down
levels.

Long-story short, I defined the 1,029.90 level as a trigger
level, which if broken, might be a level that saw early morning
gains progress higher.  However, even the futures market just
didn't seem to have enough "umph."

I used this technique in the futures chart, only because I have
my cash SPX chart nicely set up with the WEEKLY and MONTHLY
levels and wanted to show a systematic approach of using more of
a "fitted" retracement technique to display levels.

Still, such hard work taken on by a full-time intra-day trader
can be tied in with pivot analysis work as levels from the matrix
(futures traders will use the futures matrix) can be tied
together to sniff out potentially important levels.

This can also help trader make sense from intra-day market
commentary provided by Jonathan Levinson and Jim Brown, when from
time to time I see them making comments regarding order depth at
the bid and ask.

Futures Monitor Comments -




If you're trading futures, which have high intra-day leverage,
I'd sure try and have some levels defined and follow along with
other comments.  Was Jonathan's observation of order depth
meaningful?  It made some sense to me.

If I'm a cash SPX/OEX trader and see some tie with futures and
the DAILY pivot matrix level of 9,529.21, was short/put going
into the FOMC and saw SPX 10-points post-FOMC, then maybe, just
maybe a bear is lining up his bid around the 1,024 level too?

Let's take a look at tomorrow's pivot analysis matrix, and once
again we see some of yesterday's "key" levels of resistance
coming into play, and why I was trying to get some intra-day
upside action points lined up in today's market monitor as WEEKLY
R1s were traded in the Dow Industrials (INDU) 9,545 -0.22%, DIA
$95.95 -0.05%, SPY 103.38 -0.19%, OEX 515.43 -0.37%, NDX 1,387.45
-0.43% and QQQ $34.26 -0.04%, but just lacked the "umph" or an
upside trigger to extend yesterday's gains.

Pivot Matrix




Crud.  After marking some boxes/levels I wanted to quickly cover,
I didn't color the bulk of tomorrow's DAILY pivots red and with
time limited, I decided to not go back and redo everything.

Notes in PINK are to simply show how close the major indices and
trackers (DIA, SPY, QQQ) traded with their WEEKLY R1s, and why I
was trying to find that "trigger level" in the futures contract
to push thing over the edge for a short-covering extension to
yesterday's gains.  Just not enough "umph."  The S&P 500 Index
(SPX.X) came within fractions, and if my intra-day commentary or
work in the Market Monitor kept one anxious bull from perhaps
jumping the gun on a new bullish entry today, then I feel that
work may have been worth it.

WEEKLY Pivots and DAILY S2 are full of correlative support.
Remember, index expiration is tomorrow and there may be some last
minute gyrations on index expiration and that's reason enough to
think a DAILY S2 trade after bulls just didn't get the upside
gains to get an extension of the rally continuing, to think a
weaker open tomorrow, might have some shorter-term bulls pulling
out early and looking to play the WEEKLY Pivot one more time.

The BIX.X has just about every S2 to Pivot colored green, but
each is a level, if broken to the downside, would have me
thinking it takes some pressure off of broader market bears to
cover.  While I hold no bearish index trades at this point
(except a QQQ put from May than went poof a long time ago) a
rater easy giveback of early gains in the BIX.X didn't give the
bearish side of me the impression that bears were overly pressed
to cover further, as long as YIELDS were lower and BIX.X were not
bidding from early open highs.  Earlier comment on the BIX.X
showing a POTENTIAL head/shoulder top pattern, with neckline at
296, would have that 296 between MONTHLY S2 and S1, so I have a
sense of field position as it relates to the BIX.X and its
MONTHLY pivot matrix as this week now grows shorter.

Some traders have expresses an interest in viewing the SPX chart
with a "fitted" retracement, similar to what I had done
previously with the S&P futures chart on its daily interval bar
chart, when we added an upper level of retracement when the
futures contract broke to new highs.  Here's the cash (SPX.X)
chart using similar fitting technique used in the futures chart.
What do you think?  Are these levels in play?  Have they shown
some historical significance that would tie in with past trading,
where the levels are being carried over to current day?  What
isn't explained in this retracement?

S&P 500 Index Chart - Daily Intervals




Wow!  I like the support fit at 19.1%, and 38.2% and while we
never know for certain, even the 50% looks like it was some type
of target as the SPX broke to new highs and closed right at that
level on September 2nd, when traders returned from the Labor Day
holiday.

What isn't explained by this fitted retracement is why the SPX
was only able to reach the 1,032.41 level on September 8th.
Hmmmm.... I had just gotten back from vacation myself and updated
the WEEKLY pivot matrix levels for the 09/08 to 09/12 week.
Boom!  WEEKLY R1 was 1,031.93. Today, the WEEKLY R1 of 1,031.46
was almost tested.  But, there just wasn't enough "umph."

I've also shown some very simple upward trends using conventional
anchoring to the March low and a relative low pullback.  For lack
of better terminology, I've labeled them aggressive,
intermediate, and longer-term.  Now I would be as amazed as even
the most bullish of bulls if this longer-term-labeled trend held
for the next several years and would deem 960 the biggest level
of important support.  But we can note how pullbacks to a first
test of trend (after anchor and attachment to a relative low)
combined with some of the levels shown from fitted retracement
have offered some support when both were tested.

Look at the MONTHLY Pivot analysis levels.  See where MONTHLY S1
is at 1,006.76?  That's pretty darned close to the fitted 38.2%
retracement of 1,007.68, and may begin to be deemed a more
important level of near-term support.

Two separate tools giving indication of 1,007 correlative support
this month, and may have to wait to look at next WEEKS pivot
matrix to see of something near 1,036 shows up?  We've noted the
WEEKLY/MONTHLY 1,042-1,044 correlations, and yesterday we may
have been more bullish at WEEKLY pivot than we were today at
WEEKLY R1.  The MARKET obviously was.

S&P 100 Index Chart - Daily Intervals




We can perhaps sense a bit of a "bull trap" in the making this
morning as the OEX made a little juke-move above WEEKLY R1 with a
session high of 518.54, but the afternoon rally between 12:00 and
01:00 did have the same impact as the OEX pegged 518.29 on that
second test.  Do bears have the upper-hand?  Not hardly as buyers
held the 515.29 level.

I've said before that I don't like to enter new positions so
close to expiration, but I've outlined a potential trade setup to
look for tomorrow, where we might look for some option expiration
volatility to see a early moved to 512, then a "swoosh" reversal
back higher to an expiration close of 520.  That would be
something if it happened and my only reason for thinking
something like this might unfold, is that I do truly believe
there was some heavier call selling this summer, where the call
selling by institutions in a range-bound market would have had
quarterly (September) calls being sold.  One way to mitigate or
save some positions is to try and get a lower move going into
expiration (sell some long stock you're going to lose in the
covered calls), and when they get to a destination, turn and
close out the calls more aggressively, get a rally going, and buy
back equal dollar amounts in different stocks that may be gaining
new favor with the market longer-term, which can then spur the
rally back to 520.

Dow Industrials Chart (INDU) - Daily Intervals




INDU and OEX look very similar as it relates to the WEEKLY
Matrix.  INDU didn't match its early-September highs as closely
as the OEX, and while I don't put GREAT weight in Oscillators,
INDU's MACD below its SIGNAL is still somewhat cautious and most
likely needs that kick above 9,618 to have MACD giving a bullish
crossover.  The last two weeks, it seems like I've seen a lot of
comments about round number support/resistance all from 9,400,
9,500 and 9,600.  One level not mentioned yet is 9,700, so let me
be the first to mention this level, which would tie to WEEKLY R2
of 9,702.

NASDAQ-100 Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) - Daily Intervals




Recent economic data hasn't been that "hot," and 80% of the
bullish part of me is looking for bearish short-covering to
provide the bulk of the upside emphasis after the bounce from
$33.00.

If I were to grow some fur and take on a bear's technical view of
things, imagine myself short 200,000 shares at $33.00, I'd be
sweating a little, grasping to the observation that MACD is at
relative high levels where pullbacks have come from, but when
PRICE action matters, I'm staring at that WEEKLY R1 and hoping
like heck it holds resistance so I can get things squared up back
at $33.00.

Bullish percent results today showed that the very narrow Dow
Industrials Bullish % ($BPINDU) remained unchanged and still
reads "bull confirmed" at 83.33%.

The narrow S&P 100 Bullish % ($BPOEX) was also unchanged and
still reads "bull confirmed" at 88%.

The narrow NASDAQ-100 Bullish % ($BPNDX) was unchanged and still
reads "bear correction" at 78%.

The broader S&P 500 Bullish % ($BPSPX) saw a net gain of 3 stocks
to point and figure buy signals with the bullish % inching up
0.6% to 82.4%.  Still "bull confirmed."

And the broadest-of-broad bullish % indicators had the NYSE
Composite Bullish % ($BPNYA), which is compiled from roughly
3,000 point and figure charts show a net gain of 0.15%, say 5
stock seeing new point and figure buy signals.  Still "bull
confirmed" at 73.28% after reversing up to "bull confirmed" in
early April at 42%.

The NASDAQ Composite Bullish % ($BPCOMPQ) saw a rise of 0.28%
(also about 3,000 PnF charts) to 76.68% and still reads "bull
confirmed" after reversing up to bull confirmed status in April
at 42% bullish.

Jeff Bailey


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Still Seeking Clarity
by Mark Phillips
mphillips@OptionInvestor.com

Over the past couple weeks, I've been discussing the frustrations
I've felt (confirmed by numerous readers) in trying to determine a
longer-term direction for this market.  Traders that jump on the
daily intraday trend in their chosen vehicle don't really need to
expend much effort on this pursuit, but for those of us looking at
taking positions to hold for weeks and months at a time, the
current market action has proved to be frustrating in the extreme.

My puzzlement does not really pertain to individual issues so much
as it does to the broad market action, as many of the tools I
focus on are most directly applied to the major indices.  For the
sake of our simplicity, I want to limit our focus to the S&P 500,
as I think it provides the best view of the overall market, at
least with respect to the tools I want to discuss.

Aside from price patterns and assorted chart indicators, my two
primary long-term tools are the CBOE Volatility index (VIX.X) and
the Bullish Percents.  They are both rather simple tools, but I
have found them to be quite reliable in recent years for calling
the major reversal points in the broad market.  That is until the
past few months, where I have gotten several false "market top"
indications, which have then been followed by new highs in the
market.

It seems as if I've written enough about the VIX over the past
year to choke a horse, so I don't want to dwell much on this
indicator except to restate its primary benefit.  It gives us a
fairly good reading on overall market sentiment.  Historically,
readings above 30 have been indicative of a near-term market
bottom (except when fear runs to the extreme as it has on roughly
half a dozen occasions in the past 5 years, when it can rise as
high as 60) and readings below 20 are indicative of a near-term
market top.  There's nothing magic about the 20 and 30 levels.
Don't think of them as absolute trigger levels, but as areas of
interest.  When the VIX moves above 30 and then begins to reverse
back down, that's when we start looking for a way to play the
overall market in a bullish manner.  Likewise, when it drops below
20 and then reverses upwards, we start looking for bearish trading
opportunities.  Or as the old saying goes, "When the VIX is high,
it is time to buy.  When the VIX is low, it is time to go."

I like to think of the Bullish Percent (BP) reading as a big-
picture overbought/oversold indicator.  Typically readings over
70% indicate an overbought market and readings below 30% denote an
oversold market.  But as we know from our study of any oscillator,
overbought can always become more overbought and oversold can
become more oversold.  Basically, all the BP readings are telling
us is the percentage of stocks in the chosen index that are on a
PnF Buy signal.  When that number gets over 70% and begins to
reverse, we've normally got a pretty reliable indication of a
near-term top in the market.  Just as an upward reversal from a
reading below 30% tends to indicate a near-term bottom is in
place.

The typical BP readings on the PnF chart give indications of Bull
Confirmed, Bear Alert, etc.  But I've found it rather difficult to
ascertain accurate turning points with the BP charts in this
format.  Fortunately for me, one of my astute readers (Thanks,
Brian!) emailed me last year with a different approach that I had
never considered.  Instead of displaying the BP reading in a PnF
format, we can display it in a line format on the StockCharts.com
site.  Overlay a 10-dma on the BP line and look for a bearish
cross of the BP line under the 10-dma when BP is above 70% (Sell
signal) and a bullish cross of the BP line above the 10-dma when
the BP is below 30% (Buy Signal).  To add confirmation to this
picture, we use a 20-period CCI oscillator and look for the
crossovers into and out of the +/-100 zones to define strength or
weakness.

Paying attention to these two simple indicators has been quite
fruitful over the past few years, so you can imagine that I've
been a bit irritated in their failure to accurately call a top in
the current market.  Fortunately, I've got some bright readers out
there that have taken the basic concepts I've written about in the
past, tweaked and combined them to come up with a better
mousetrap.  Before we delve into their discoveries though, let's
look at the basic setup that I've been using to define bearish
signals on the SPX BP chart.

12-Month SPX Bullish Percent Sharp Chart




Alright, the picture portrayed there is old news to those of you
that have been with me awhile.  We saw three consecutive BP sell
signals followed by a steady reversal that took the SPX BP right
back to its highs.  But this is where the interesting observations
start to come into play.  Let's start with the one I got from
Brian (who incidentally, was the guy that initially turned me onto
the idea of using the SharpChart view to look at Bullish Percent).

"Recently, I began using a relative strength of SPX vs. the stock
with a 10 bar moving average.  I coupled this with a Money Flow,
also with a 10 bar moving average.  Look at bar charts with these
two indicators in daily, weekly and even monthly time frames.
This shows that the stock is getting stronger/weaker than the
broad market and money is moving in/out of it, too.  Of course
this setup isn't perfect, but I'm finding it to be a pretty good
screen before putting on directional short to intermediate term
plays."

Now, my charting program doesn't have the Money Flow indicator
that Brian mentioned, but that's not the critical issue.  He
reminded me that we can use various oscillators on the SPX and
look for relative strength and weakness between the current action
and that seen in the past.  If we see lower oscillator highs along
with the higher price highs that have been the case lately, then
we can make a case for bearish divergence.  Now I know this isn't
exactly what Brian was pointing at, but I think its two sides of
the same coin.

As Brian correctly points out, don't just look at the daily.  See
if there is a similar divergent pattern on the weekly or even
monthly timeframes.  Remember, the longer the timeframe in which
this divergence shows up, the stronger the signal it provides.  So
I went back and loaded up my daily, weekly and monthly SPX charts
and guess what?  Particularly on the weekly and monthly charts,
we've got some pretty compelling bearish divergence setting up.
It isn't complete yet, but take a look at the charts below and I
think you'll see what I do.  Notice that I used three different
oscillators and they're all telling me the same thing.

Weekly Chart of the SPX With Oscillators




I selected three different oscillators at random from my toolbox
and applied them to the SPX weekly chart above and Voila!  Every
one of them is telling me the same thing.  I have POTENTIAL
bearish divergence setting up on the Stochastics, Momentum, and
Williams %R oscillators.  None of the oscillators has finished
topping yet, so the formations are not complete, but it gives us
something concrete that we can monitor.  To abort this bearish
divergence setup, we'll need to see these oscillators move to
higher levels than that seen in roughly the April/May timeframe
before falling back under the low of the troughs put in place in
late July/early August.  We're looking at a weekly timeframe and
that means we can place a fair amount of emphasis on this
divergence if it does in fact confirm with these oscillators
falling below the August lows ahead of taking out the spring
highs.

In the pursuit of completeness, I repeated the application of
these very same oscillators to the monthly chart of the SPX, and
there the picture is, if anything, more compelling.

Monthly Chart of the SPX With Oscillators




I know some of you may find this confusing, but once again we have
bearish divergence at work, with lower price highs in opposition
with much higher oscillator highs.  In order to negate this very
bearish chart setup, the SPX will need to trade through the late
2001/early 2002 price highs near 1160 before these oscillators tip
over and fall out of overbought territory.  That seems like an
awfully tall order for the bulls unless that economic recovery
comes on strong and soon.

The main takeaway from this exercise is that if we are looking at
trying to determine what is going on in the longer-term view, then
we have to look at the longer term charts.  And one of my favorite
ways to evaluate long-term strength or weakness is through the use
of oscillator divergences.  My heartfelt thanks goes out to Brian
for giving me the inclination to delve into this view!  Please
remember though, that these divergent patterns must complete
before they will truly be tradable.  They are not actionable yet.

Believe it or not, I'm completely out of time today and I haven't
even gotten to the really interesting stuff.  One of my long-time
readers (Gumby) sent me some very interesting observations on both
the Bullish Percents and the VIX -- talk about hitting all the
high notes -- and I really was hoping to get to it today.  But
time and space constraints must be observed.  Next week, we'll
delve into those additional observations.  And I think by the time
we're through, we'll all be ready to check out of the asylum --
although I'll probably only be given a day pass.

Have a great week!

Mark


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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 09-17-2003
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: Call - AMGN
Spreads, Combinations & Premium-Selling Plays: A Necessary
    Consolidation!
Watch List: Following the ABC's

Updated on the site tonight:
Market Posture: Just Another Quiet Trading Day


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STOP-LOSS UPDATES
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DROPPED CALLS
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DROPPED PUTS
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**********************
PLAY OF THE DAY - CALL
**********************

Amgen, Inc. - AMGN - close: 69.63 change: -0.18 stop: 66.75

-Company Description-
The biggest of the Biotech big guns, AMGN makes and markets
therapeutic products for hematology, oncology, bone and
inflammatory disorders, as well as neuroendocrine and
neurodegenerative diseases.  Anti-anemia drug Epogen and immune
system stimulator Neupogen account for about 95% of sales.  Its
Infergen has been commercialized as a treatment for hepatitis C,
and Stemgen is approved for stem cell therapy in Australia,
Canada, and New Zealand.  The company has a strong pipeline of new
drugs in various stages of development as well as research and
marketing alliances with Hoffman-La-Roche and Johnson & Johnson.

- Most Recent Update (Thursday, May 15, 2003)-
AMGN appeared to be Teflon-coated throughout the rise from last
fall, right through tagging its most recent high near $72 in the
middle of July, as nothing seemed able to drag the stock back very
far or for very long.  Finally, after hitting that $72 level
(exactly reaching its PnF bullish price target), AMGN pulled back
and has spent the past two months consolidating in a very healthy
manner, and in the past few weeks has been finding support at the
long-term ascending trendline that was established between late-
September and mid-February.  That trendline has been gradually
lifting AMGN higher and last Friday the bulls pushed it back above
its 50-dma ($68.32) and we've seen some nice follow-through
already this week.  Looking at the PnF chart, we can see that it
is right on the verge of giving a new PnF Buy signal and all it
needs to do is trade the $70 level.  Since AMGN is currently on a
mild PnF Sell signal right now (which looks a bit like a bear
trap), that allows us to get a new vertical count from this Buy
signal if we can get it.  Just trading $70 will give us a bullish
vertical count of $81 and that's ample upside potential to keep
everybody happy.

While momentum traders may be content to enter on a trade at $70
and with that new PnF Buy signal, we would advise caution due to
the fact that price is pressing right up against the upper
Bollinger band, which is currently flat.  This likely means a
couple tests will be required for AMGN to push and hold above the
$70 level.  So our preferred strategy would be to wait for the
trade at $70 to give the PnF Buy signal and then look to enter on
an intraday pullback in the $68-69 area, with the 50-dma serving
as key support.  Note that the ascending trendline and the 20-dma
currently line up in the $67.25-67.50 area and that should be very
strong support if this bullish move has any life at all.  We're
initially placing our stop at $66.75, which is also just under
last Wednesday's intraday low.  Since AMGN trades so much in
sympathy with the overall Biotechnology index (BTK.X) look for
confirming strength from the BTK before playing.

- Play of the Day Comments -
The BTK biotech index was one of the few sectors closing in the
green today.  If it can mount a breakout over 490 then AMGN
should be able to lead a move above $70 (and vice versa).  If
not, and the market pulls back, then look for a dip from the $68
level.

- Suggested Options -
Shorter Term: The October 70 Call will offer short-term traders
the best return on an immediate move, as it is currently at the
money.

Longer Term: Aggressive traders looking to capitalize on an
extended rally will want to look to the January 75 Call.  This
option is currently out of the money, but should provide
sufficient time for the stock to move higher without time decay
becoming a dominant factor over the short run.  More conservative
long-term traders will want to use the January 70 Call.

BUY CALL OCT-65 YAA-JM OI=16013 at $5.30 SL=3.25
BUY CALL OCT-70 YAA-JN OI=34773 at $1.95 SL=1.00
BUY CALL JAN-70 RQB-AN OI=21519 at $4.20 SL=2.50
BUY CALL JAN-75 RQB-AO OI=10328 at $2.25 SL=1.10

Annotated Chart of AMGN



Picked on September 16th at  $69.81
Change since picked:          +0.18
Earnings Date              10/21/03 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     8.26 mln
Chart =



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*********************************************
SPREADS, COMBINATIONS & PREMIUM-SELLING PLAYS
*********************************************

A Necessary Consolidation!
By Ray Cummins

Stocks retreated Wednesday with declines in Dow component Dupont
(NYSE:DD) leading the blue-chip segment lower while weakness in
energy shares weighed on the broader market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21 points to 9,546, despite
gains in tobacco giant Altria Group (NYSE:MO) and a 52-week high
for International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM).  Hi-tech issues
also slumped with the NASDAQ composite down 4 points at 1,883 as
profit-taking emerged in the semiconductor segment.  The Standard
& Poor's 500 Index slipped 3 points to 1,025 as oil, oil service,
natural gas, and airline issues moved lower.  Trading volume was
moderate at 1.3 million on the NYSE and 1.9 billion on the NASDAQ.
Declining issues outpaced advancing shares by a 6 to 5 margin on
both the Big Board and the technology exchange.  Treasurys edged
higher with bullish activity across the maturity spectrum.  The
10-year note added 27/32 to yield 4.18% while the 30-year bond
swelled 1 22/32 to yield 5.09%.

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

SUMMARY OF CURRENT POSITIONS - AS OF 9/16/03

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

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 our subscribers, 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 editor of this section does not take actual positions in any
published plays and the summary comments are 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 in
any way replace your duty to diligently monitor and manage the
positions in your portfolio.


MONTHLY YIELD FOR UNCOVERED OPTIONS: MAXIMUM & SIMPLE

The Maximum Yield (listed in the summary and with "naked" 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

DRIV     SEP    17    17.15  28.45   $0.35   4.88%   2.04%
IMCL     SEP    30    28.85  45.69   $1.15   8.88%   3.99%
LLTC     SEP    32    31.75  39.22   $0.75   4.40%   2.36%
OVTI     SEP    30    29.15  43.52   $0.85   6.18%   2.92%
SINA     SEP    22    21.90  39.66   $0.60   5.80%   2.74%
ZRAN     SEP    20    19.60  25.59   $0.40   4.92%   2.04%
CBK      SEP    22    22.80  28.16   $0.30   3.42%   1.32%
IMCL     SEP    30    29.45  45.69   $0.55   5.18%   1.87%
LLTC     SEP    32    32.00  39.22   $0.50   3.64%   1.56%
NVLS     SEP    30    29.55  38.55   $0.45   3.92%   1.52%
OVTI     SEP    30    29.35  43.52   $0.65   5.83%   2.21%
PCLN     SEP    25    24.65  37.27   $0.35   4.03%   1.42%
PHTN     SEP    22    22.10  32.73   $0.40   5.24%   1.81%
RIMM     SEP    20    19.60  32.37   $0.40   5.78%   2.04%
URBN     SEP    40    39.40  49.50   $0.60   3.78%   1.52%
AEIS     SEP    17    17.10  22.75   $0.40   5.97%   2.34%
AEIS     SEP    20    19.50  22.75   $0.50   7.31%   2.56%
FLML     SEP    17    17.00  37.44   $0.50   9.88%   2.94%
IMCL     SEP    35    34.50  45.69   $0.50   4.45%   1.45%
JCOM     SEP    25    24.70  43.82   $0.30   4.30%   1.21%
MGAM     SEP    22    22.20  27.61   $0.30   4.08%   1.35%
NFLX     SEP    22    22.25  35.90   $0.25   4.01%   1.12%
NTES     SEP    40    39.55  62.31   $0.45   4.13%   1.14%
PHTN     SEP    25    24.60  32.73   $0.40   5.15%   1.63%
RIMM     SEP    22    22.15  32.37   $0.35   5.48%   1.58%
SINA     SEP    25    24.70  39.66   $0.30   4.23%   1.21%
ANPI     SEP    35    34.55  50.67   $0.45   4.69%   1.30%
AEIS     SEP    20    19.75  22.75   $0.25   5.01%   1.27%
BRKS     SEP    20    19.75  25.65   $0.25   5.72%   1.27%
FLML     SEP    22    22.05  37.44   $0.45   8.41%   2.04%
LLTC     SEP    37    37.10  39.22   $0.40   3.84%   1.08%
OSIP     SEP    30    29.65  36.40   $0.35   5.39%   1.18%
NFLX     SEP    27    27.05  35.90   $0.45   6.69%   1.66%
NTES     SEP    40    39.60  62.31   $0.40   4.59%   1.01%
NVLS     SEP    37    36.85  38.55   $0.65   6.00%   1.76%
PHTN     SEP    27    27.15  32.73   $0.35   4.93%   1.29%
QCOM     SEP    37    37.05  44.89   $0.45   4.27%   1.21%
RCII     SEP    28    27.74  32.29   $0.26   3.49%   0.94%
FLML     SEP    25    24.80  37.44   $0.20   5.16%   0.81%
NTES     SEP    45    44.65  62.31   $0.35   5.15%   0.78%
KVHI     SEP    25    24.80  28.31   $0.20   4.39%   0.81%
TTWO     SEP    32    32.20  35.82   $0.30   4.89%   0.93%


Naked Calls
***********

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

CVTX     SEP    32   32.95  26.53    $0.35   5.65%    1.06%
MEDI     SEP    40   40.65  37.78    $0.65   4.68%    1.60%
RJR      SEP    35   35.55  34.19    $0.55   4.15%    1.55%
CVTX     SEP    30   30.45  26.53    $0.45   8.12%    1.48%
APC      SEP    45   45.55  42.08    $0.55   4.55%    1.21%
JCOM     SEP    40   40.70  43.82   ($3.12)  0.00%    1.72% *
ANPI     SEP    50   50.35  50.67   ($0.32)  0.00%    0.70% *

Positions in j2 Global Communications (NASDAQ:JCOM) and
Angiotech (NASDAQ:ANPI), which were submitted by our guest
editor on 9/3, should have been closed early due to recent
upside activity.  The bearish position in Accredo Health
(NASDAQ:ACDO) has previously been closed to limit losses.


Put-Credit Spreads
******************

Symbol  Pick   Last   Month L/P S/P Credit  C/B    G/L   Status

KSS     60.64  59.91   SEP   50  55  0.60  54.40  $0.60   Open
WHR     66.05  69.95   SEP   55  60  0.60  59.40  $0.60   Open
XAU     82.67  92.43   SEP   70  75  0.55  74.45  $0.55   Open
APPX    43.86  38.47   SEP   30  35  0.55  34.45  $0.55   Open
CHIR    46.33  56.75   SEP   40  42  0.25  42.25  $0.25   Open
TIF     37.42  39.02   SEP   30  35  0.45  34.55  $0.45   Open
AMZN    43.76  46.24   SEP   37  40  0.30  39.70  $0.30   Open
KLAC    54.35  57.54   SEP   47  50  0.30  49.70  $0.30   Open
RCII    30.32  32.29   SEP   26  27  0.24  27.76  $0.24   Open
BBY     51.45  52.66   SEP   42  45  0.20  44.80  $0.20   Open
MUR     53.62  57.57   SEP   45  50  0.25  49.75  $0.25   Open
VIP     54.95  57.80   SEP   45  50  0.50  49.50  $0.50   Open
SNDK    61.21  63.23   SEP   50  55  0.40  54.60  $0.40   Open
SYMC    58.48  61.06   SEP   50  55  0.40  54.60  $0.40   Open

The new position in Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) was not available at
the target price due to the "gap-up" at the open, on the day
after the play was offered.


Call-Credit Spreads
*******************

Symbol  Pick   Last   Month L/C S/C Credit  C/B    G/L   Status

UNH     48.79  50.08   SEP  57  55   0.30  55.30   $0.30   Open
WLP     76.49  78.81   SEP  90  85   0.50  85.50   $0.50   Open
CTX     73.74  77.00   SEP  85  80   0.65  80.65   $0.65   Open
NBIX    49.52  53.50   SEP  60  55   0.60  55.60   $0.60   Open?
MRK     52.12  53.79   SEP  60  55   0.55  55.55   $0.55   Open
APOL    60.52  68.45   SEP  70  65   0.60  65.60  ($2.85)  Open
KBH     56.31  59.50   SEP  65  60   0.50  60.50   $0.50   Open?
LLY     62.10  61.00   SEP  70  65   0.30  65.30   $0.30   Open
SOHU    34.05  39.67   SEP  45  40   0.30  40.30   $0.30   Open?

The spread in Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) should have been closed
last Friday, for a smaller than published loss, when the issue
moved above the sold (call) strike at $65.  Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU)
and the older play in Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), which is profitable,
have previously been closed to limit losses.  KB Home (NYSE:KBH)
and Sohu.com (NASDAQ:SOHU) are on the early-exit "watch" list.


Synthetic Positions
*******************

No Open Positions


Debit Straddles
***************

Stock   Pick   Last   Exp.   Long  Long  Initial   Max     Play
Symbol  Price  Price  Month  Call  Put    Debit   Value   Status

ABC     60.00  57.47   NOV    60    60    7.25    7.75     Open

Amerisourcebergen (NYSE:ABC) has achieved profitability in a short
time but if the trend of the issue reverses direction, traders may
need to "leg-out" of the play to preserve capital.


Questions & comments on spreads/combos to Contact Support
*************

NEW POSITIONS

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 personal skill level, risk-reward tolerance
and portfolio outlook.  In addition, we recommend that you avoid
any trading techniques in which you are not completely comfortable
with the potential capital 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 issue.

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

BULLISH PLAYS - NAKED PUTS

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.

WARNING: THE RISK IN SELLING UNCOVERED OPTIONS IS SUBSTANTIAL!

The sale of uncovered puts entails considerable financial risk,
far more than the initial margin or collateral required to open
a position.  The maximum financial obligation for the sale of a
naked put is the strike price (of the underlying stock) that is
sold.  Although this obligation is reduced by the premium from
the sale of the option, a writer of puts should have the cash or
collateral equivalent of the sold strike price in reserve at all
times.  In addition, there is one very important rule when using
this strategy: Don't sell puts on stocks that you don't want to
own!  Why?  Because stocks occasionally experience catastrophic
declines, exponentially increasing the margin maintenance and
possibly causing a devastating shortfall in your portfolio.  It
is also important that you consider using trading stops on naked
option positions to help limit losses when a stock's price falls.
Many professional traders suggest closing the position when the
underlying share value moves below the sold strike, or using a
"buy-to-close" stop order at a price that is no more than twice
the original premium received from the sold option.

**************
APPX - American Pharma Partners  $38.87  *** On The Move! ***

American Pharmaceutical Partners (NASDAQ:APPX) is a specialty
drug company that develops, manufactures and markets injectable
pharmaceutical products, focusing on the oncology, anti-infective
and critical care markets.  The company is one of the largest
producers of injectables, with more than 130 generic products in
more than 350 dosages and formulations.  APPX has acquired the
exclusive North American rights to manufacture and market ABI-007,
a proprietary nanoparticle injectable oncology product that has
completed Phase III clinical trials for metastatic breast cancer
and for which the FDA has granted "Fast Track" designation.  The
NDA submission has commenced and it is anticipated that the entire
submission will be completed in 2003.  The company believes that
it has established the only commercial scale protein-engineered
nanoparticle manufacturing capability in the United States.

APPX - American Pharma Partners  $38.87

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 30    AQO VF     228   0.45  29.55   5.2%   1.5% *
SELL PUT  OCT 33    AXD VV   1,195   1.05  32.33   9.0%   3.2%
SELL PUT  OCT 35    AQO VG     402   1.45  33.55  10.5%   4.3%


**************
CELL - Brightpoint  $31.65  *** New 2-Year High! ***

Brightpoint (NASDAQ:CELL) is one of the largest distributors
of mobile phones.  Brightpoint supports the worldwide wireless
telecommunications and data industry, providing quickly deployed,
flexible and cost effective third party solutions.  The firm's
innovative services include distribution, channel management,
fulfillment, eBusiness solutions and other outsourced services
that integrate seamlessly with its customers.  The company is
planning to split its common stock 3-for-2 on October 15 for
shareholders of record on September 30.

CELL - Brightpoint  $31.65

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 25    ULN VE     119   0.60  24.40   8.2%   2.5% *
SELL PUT  OCT 30    ULN VF      51   2.00  28.00  14.6%   7.1%


**************
CEPH - Cephalon  $48.06  *** Trading Range? ***

Cephalon (NASDAQ:CEPH) is an international biopharmaceutical firm
dedicated to the discovery, development and marketing of products
to treat sleep disorders, neurological disorders, cancer and pain.
In addition to conducting a very active research and development
program, the company markets three products in the United States
and a number of products in various countries throughout Europe.
Cephalon's United States products are comprised of Provigil, for
the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness associated with
narcolepsy, Actiq for cancer pain management, and Gabitril for
the treatment of partial seizures associated with epilepsy.

CEPH - Cephalon  $48.06

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 40    CQE VH   1,490   0.85  39.15   6.7%   2.2% *
SELL PUT  OCT 45    CQE VI   1,595   2.00  43.00  10.5%   4.7%


**************
CVTX - CV Therapeutics  $27.49  *** Bottom Fishing! ***

CV Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CVTX) is a biopharmaceutical firm focused
on the discovery, development and commercialization of new small
molecule drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.  The
company's New Drug Application (NDA) for Ranexa (ranolazine) for
the treatment of chronic angina has been filed at the U.S. FDA.
Tecadenoson (CVT-510), an A1-adenosine receptor agonist, is being
developed for the potential reduction of rapid heart rate during
atrial arrhythmias.  CVT-3146, an A2A-adenosine receptor agonist,
is being developed for the potential use as a pharmacologic agent
in cardiac perfusion imaging studies.  Adentri, an A1-adenosine
receptor antagonist, is being developed by the company's partner,
Biogen, for the potential treatment of acute and chronic congestive
heart failure.  CVTX also has several research and preclinical
development programs designed to bring additional drug candidates
into human clinical testing.

CVTX - CV Therapeutics  $27.49

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 20    UXC VD     709   0.30  19.70   4.9%   1.5% *
SELL PUT  OCT 22.5  UXC VX   3,329   0.70  21.80   9.9%   3.2%
SELL PUT  OCT 25    UXC VE     664   1.30  23.70  12.6%   5.5%


**************
DIGE - Digene  $43.40  *** Another 2-Year High! ***

Digene (NASDAQ:DIGE) develops, manufactures and markets proprietary
gene-based testing systems for screening, monitoring and diagnosis
of human diseases.  Its primary focus is in women's cancers and
infectious diseases.  The firm has applied its proprietary Hybrid
Capture technology to develop a unique diagnostic test for human
papillomavirus, which is the primary cause of cervical cancer and
is found in greater than 99% of all cervical cancer cases.  In
addition to its HPV Test, the company's product portfolio includes
gene-based tests for detecting chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B
virus and cytomegalovirus.

DIGE - Digene  $43.40

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 35    QDG VG     120   0.40  34.60   4.1%   1.2% *
SELL PUT  OCT 40    QDG VH      76   1.55  38.45   9.5%   4.0%


**************
HEPH - Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals  $28.23  *** Rally Mode! ***

Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:HEPH), a development-stage
pharmaceutical company, is engaged in the discovery, development
and commercialization of products for the treatment of immune
system disorders and hormonal imbalances.  HEPH's development
efforts target a series of indications in which the body is
unable to mount an appropriate immune response: radiation and
chemotherapy induced immune suppression and immune dysregulation
caused by infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
The company's initial technology development efforts are focused
on a series of potent hormones and hormone analogs that are key
components of the body's natural regulatory system.

HEPH - Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals  $28.23
PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 22.5  QGQ VX     120   0.65  21.85   9.8%   3.0% *
SELL PUT  OCT 25    QGQ VE     173   1.25  23.75  12.8%   5.3%


**************
LLTC - Linear Technology  $38.77  *** Next Leg Up? ***

Linear Technology (NASDAQ:LLTC) designs, manufactures and sells
a broad line of standard high-performance linear integrated
circuits (ICs).  Applications for the company's products include
telecommunications, cellular telephones, networking products,
optical switches, notebook and desktop computers, computer
peripherals, video/multimedia, industrial instrumentation,
security monitoring devices, high-end consumer products, digital
cameras and MP3 players, complex medical devices, automotive
electronics, factory automation, process control and military
and space systems.

LLTC - Linear Technology  $38.77
PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 32.5  LLQ VZ     146   0.30  32.20   3.0%   0.9% TS
SELL PUT  OCT 35    LLQ VG     486   0.70  34.30   5.3%   2.0% *
SELL PUT  OCT 37.5  LLQ VU     597   1.50  36.00   9.1%   4.2%


**************
NFLX - Netflix  $35.75  *** Entry Point? ***

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is an online entertainment service in the
United States that provides more than 600,000 subscribers access
to a comprehensive library of more than 11,500 movie, television
and other filmed entertainment titles.  The company's standard
subscription plan allows subscribers to have three titles out at
the same time with no due dates, late fees or shipping charges.
Subscribers can view as many titles as they want in a month and
they select these titles at the firm's Website (www.netflix.com)
aided by its proprietary CineMatch technology.  They receive them
on DVD by first-class mail and return them to the company at their
convenience using prepaid mailers.  Once a title has been returned,
Netflix mails the next available title in a subscriber's queue.

NFLX - Netflix  $35.75

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 27.5  QNQ VY   2,004   0.35  27.15   4.4%   1.3% *
SELL PUT  OCT 30    QNQ VF     735   0.80  29.20   8.1%   2.7%


**************
RIMM - Research In Motion  $33.15  *** Hot Sector! ***

Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) is a designer, builder,
and marketer of wireless solutions for the mobile communications
market.  Through development and integration of hardware, software
and services, the firm provides solutions for seamless access to
time-sensitive information and communications, including e-mail,
telephone, messaging and Internet- and intranet-based applications.
The company's technology also enables a broad array of third-party
developers and manufacturers around the world to enhance their own
products and services with wireless connectivity.  RIM's portfolio
of products includes a family of wireless handhelds, the BlackBerry
wireless e-mail solution, embedded radio modems and a suite of
software development tools.

RIMM - Research In Motion  $33.15
PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 27.5  RUL VY     553   0.60  26.90   6.9%   2.2% *
SELL PUT  OCT 30    RUL VF     741   1.10  28.90   9.3%   3.8%


**************
VRNT - Verint Systems  $25.52  *** Testing All-Time Highs! ***

Verint Systems (NASDAQ:VRNT), headquartered in Melville, New York,
is a leading provider of analytic software-based solutions for
communications interception, video security and surveillance, and
enterprise business intelligence.  Verint software, which is used
by over 1,000 organizations in over 50 global countries, generates
actionable intelligence through the collection, retention and
analysis of voice, fax, video, email, Internet and data sent from
multiple communications networks.  Verint Systems is a subsidiary
of Comverse Technology (NASDAQ:CMVT).

VRNT - Verint Systems  $25.52

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  OCT 22.5  JOQ VX      29   0.50  22.00   6.2%   2.3% *
SELL PUT  OCT 25    JOQ VE      20   1.35  23.65  11.7%   5.7%


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

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.

***************
ANF - Abercrombie & Fitch  $30.49  *** Bullish Retailer! ***

Abercrombie & Fitch Company (NYSE:ANF), through its subsidiaries
as specialty retailers, operates stores selling casual apparel,
personal care and other accessories for men, women and kids under
the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie and Hollister Co. brands.  As
of February 2, 2002, the company operated 491 stores in the United
States.  A&F's stores and point-of-sale marketing are designed to
convey the principal elements and personality of each brand.  The
store design, furniture, fixtures and music are carefully planned
and coordinated to create a shopping experience that is consistent
with the A&F lifestyle.

ANF - Abercrombie & Fitch  $30.49

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  OCT-25.00  ANF-VE  OI=94   ASK=$0.25
SELL PUT  OCT-27.50  ANF-VY  OI=358  BID=$0.50
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.30-$0.40
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=14% B/E=$27.20


**************
CFC - Countrywide Financial  $75.19  *** Consolidation Complete! ***

Countrywide Financial (NYSE:CFC), formerly Countrywide Credit
Industries, is a holding company that originates, purchases,
sells and services mortgage loans through its major subsidiary,
Countrywide Home Loans.  The company's mortgages are principally
prime credit first-lien mortgage loans secured by single one- to
four-family residences (prime credit first mortgages).  The firm
also offers home equity loans and sub-prime credit loans.  CFC,
through its other wholly owned subsidiaries, offers products and
services that are largely complementary to its mortgage banking
business, including lender-placed mortgage insurance, insurance
brokerage, mortgage-backed securities brokerage and underwriting,
brokerage of bulk servicing transactions, loan processing and
servicing in foreign countries, and retail banking.  The company
conducts its business through four segments: Insurance Segment,
Capital Markets Segment, Global Segment and Banking Segment.

CFC - Countrywide Financial  $75.19

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  OCT-65.00  CFC-VM  OI=3012  ASK=$0.55
SELL PUT  OCT-70.00  CFC-VN  OI=2576  BID=$1.00
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.50-$0.60
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=11% B/E=$69.50


**************
MO - Altria Group  $44.65  *** Favorable Legal Decision! ***

Altria Group (NYSE:MO), formerly Philip Morris Companies, is a
holding company and the parent company of Philip Companies.  The
company's wholly owned subsidiaries, Philip Morris USA (PM USA),
Philip Morris International (PMI) and its majority-owned (84.2%)
subsidiary, Kraft Foods (Kraft), are engaged in the manufacture
and sale of various consumer products, including cigarettes,
foods and beverages.  Philip Morris Capital Corporation (PMCC),
another wholly owned subsidiary, is primarily engaged in leasing
activities.  The company's former wholly owned subsidiary, Miller
Brewing Company, was engaged in the manufacture and marketing of
various beer products prior to the merger of Miller into South
African Breweries plc in 2002.

MO - Altria Group  $44.65

PLAY (less conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  OCT-40.00  MO-VH  OI=19837  ASK=$0.30
SELL PUT  OCT-42.50  MO-VV  OI=1831   BID=$0.60
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.35-$0.40
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=16% B/E=$42.15


**************
OHP - Oxford Health  $38.60  *** On The Rebound? ***

Oxford Health Plans (NYSE:OHP) is a healthcare company providing
health benefit plans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  The
company's product line includes its point-of-service plans, the
Freedom Plan and the Liberty Plan, health maintenance organizations,
preferred provider organizations, Medicare+Choice plans and also
third-party administration of employer-funded benefit plans.  The
company offers its products through its HMO subsidiaries and also
through Oxford Health Insurance, a health insurance subsidiary.

OHP - Oxford Health  $38.60

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  OCT-32.50  OHP-VZ  OI=139  ASK=$0.20
SELL PUT  OCT-35.00  OHP-VG  OI=477  BID=$0.45
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.25-$0.35
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=11% B/E=$34.75


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

BEARISH PLAYS - NAKED CALLS

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.

WARNING: THE RISK IN SELLING UNCOVERED OPTIONS IS SUBSTANTIAL!

The sale of uncovered calls entails considerable financial risk,
far more than the initial margin or collateral required to open
the position.  The maximum financial obligation for the sale of a
naked option is the strike price (of the underlying stock) that
is sold.  Although this obligation is reduced by the premium from
the sale of the option, a writer of options must have the cash or
collateral equivalent of the sold strike price in reserve at all
times.  The simple fact is: stocks often experience large price
swings, exponentially increasing the margin maintenance and very
possibly causing a devastating shortfall in your portfolio.  It
is also important that you consider using trading stops on naked
option positions to help limit losses when a stock price moves in
a volatile manner.  Many professional traders suggest closing the
position when the underlying share value moves beyond the sold
strike, or using a "buy-to-close" stop order at a price that is no
more than twice the original premium received from the sold option.

***************
APC - Anadarko Petroleum  $41.55  *** Next Leg Down? ***

Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), through RME Petroleum Company,
RME Holding Company, Anadarko Canada Energy, Anadarko Canada
Corporation, RME Land and Anadarko Algeria Company, is a global
independent oil and gas exploration and production company.  The
The company's major areas of operations are located in the United
States, primarily in Texas, Louisiana, the mid-continent region
and the western states, Alaska and in the shallow and deep waters
of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in Canada and Algeria.  APC is
also active in Venezuela, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Australia, Tunisia,
Congo and Gabon.

APC - Anadarko Petroleum  $41.55

PLAY (sell naked call):

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

SELL CALL  OCT 45    APC JI   5,813   0.45  45.45   3.1%   1.0% TS
SELL CALL  OCT 42.5  APC JV   2,858   1.10  43.60   6.2%   2.5%


**************
TRMS - Trimeris  $31.30  *** Sell-Off In Progress! ***

Trimeris (NASDAQ:TRMS) is a biopharmaceutical firm engaged in the
discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutic
agents for the treatment of viral disease.  The core technology
platform of fusion inhibition is based on blocking viral entry
into host cells.  FUZEON, recently approved in the U.S. and the
European Union, is the first in a new class of anti-HIV drugs
called fusion inhibitors.  Trimeris' new fusion inhibitor product
candidate, T-1249, has received fast track status from the FDA and
is in Phase I/II clinical testing.  Trimeris is developing FUZEON
and T-1249 in collaboration with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

TRMS - Trimeris  $31.30

PLAY (sell naked call):

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

SELL CALL  OCT 40    RQM JH   1,004   0.40  40.40   5.7%   1.0% *
SELL CALL  OCT 35    RQM JG   3,019   1.20  36.20  11.7%   3.3%


**************
BRCM - Broadcom  $26.32  *** Profit-Taking Underway? ***

Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) is a leading provider of highly integrated
silicon solutions that enable broadband communications and the
networking of voice, video and data services.  Using proprietary
technologies and advanced design methodologies, Broadcom designs,
develops and supplies complete system-on-a-chip solutions and
related hardware and software applications for all broadband
communications markets.  Their diverse product portfolio includes
solutions for digital cable and satellite set-top boxes; cable
and DSL modems and residential gateways; high-speed transmission
and switching for local, metropolitan, wide area and storage
networking; home and wireless networking; cellular and terrestrial
wireless communications; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
gateway and telephony systems; broadband network processors; and
SystemI/O(TM) server solutions.

BRCM - Broadcom  $26.32

PLAY (sell naked call):

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

SELL CALL  OCT 30    RCQ JF   5,821   0.50  30.50   6.5%   1.6% *
SELL CALL  OCT 27.5  RCQ JY   8,993   1.20  28.70  10.8%   4.2%


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

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.

**************
FRX - Forest Labs  $49.56  *** Trading Range? ***

Forest Laboratories (NYSE:FRX) develops, manufactures and sells
both branded and generic forms of ethical drug products that
require a physician's prescription, as well as non-prescription
pharmaceutical products sold over-the-counter.  The company's
most important U.S. products consist of branded ethical drug
specialties marketed directly, or "detailed," to physicians by
its Forest Pharmaceuticals, Therapeutics and Specialty sales
forces.  The company's many products include those developed by
Forest and those acquired from other pharmaceutical companies
and integrated into Forest's marketing and distribution systems.
Principal products include Celexa, an SSRI for the treatment of
depression; the respiratory products Aerobid and Aerochamber;
Tiazac, a once-daily diltiazem for the treatment of hypertension
and angina; and Infasurf, a lung surfactant for the treatment and
prevention of respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants.

FRX - Forest Labs  $49.56

PLAY (conservative - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  OCT-60.00  FHA-JL  OI=3525  ASK=$0.40
SELL CALL  OCT-55.00  FHA-JK  OI=4221  BID=$0.95
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.60-$0.65
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=14% B/E=$55.60


**************
KO - Coca-Cola  $43.01  *** Thomas Weisel Downgrade! ***

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is primarily engaged in the manufacture, sale
and distribution of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups
in markets across the world.  The company manufactures and sells
soft drink and noncarbonated beverage concentrates (referred to
as beverage bases) and syrups, including fountain syrups.  The
company also manufactures and sells some finished beverages, both
carbonated and noncarbonated, including juice-drink products and
water products.  In addition, the company has ownership interests
in numerous bottling and canning operations, including Coca-Cola
Enterprises, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company S.A., Coca-Cola
Amatil Limited, Panamerican Beverages, and Coca-Cola FEMSA, S.A.
de C.V.

KO - Coca-Cola  $43.01

PLAY (very conservative - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  OCT-47.50  KO-JW  OI=2206  ASK=$0.10
SELL CALL  OCT-45.00  KO-JI  OI=4728  BID=$0.30
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.25-$0.30
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=11% B/E=$45.25


**************
MEDI - MedImmune  $37.03  *** Revenge Play! ***

MedImmune (NASDAQ:MEDI) is a biotechnology company with a range of
unique products on the market and a diverse product pipeline.  The
firm is focused on using advances in immunology and other biological
sciences to develop new products that address significantly unmet
medical needs in areas of infectious disease, immune regulation and
cancer.  MedImmune actively markets four products, Synagis, Ethyol
and CytoGam and FluMist.  MedImmune co-markets the FluMist vaccine
with Wyeth and the company plans an initial product run of 4 to 5
million doses of FluMist for the 2003-2004 flu season but hasn't
given a sales projection for the upcoming quarter.

MEDI - MedImmune  $37.03

PLAY (conservative - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  OCT-42.50  MEQ-JV  OI=128   ASK=$0.40
SELL CALL  OCT-40.00  MEQ-JH  OI=5255  BID=$0.70
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.30-$0.40
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=14% B/E=$40.30


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

SEE DISCLAIMER - SECTION 1

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


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Watch List
**********

Following the ABC's

Allergan Inc - AGN - close: 80.69 change: -0.31

WHAT TO WATCH: Shares of AGN have been consolidating under
resistance near $81.00-81.50 for months.  The recent "strength"
near the $80 level has a mild trend of higher lows suggesting
bulls are building up steam for a breakout.  The point-and-figure
chart is currently showing a quadruple-top and trade at $82.00
would be the breakout!

Chart=


---

AutoZone Inc - AZO - close: 87.60 change: +0.10

WHAT TO WATCH: We're a bit early but AZO might be a good
candidate to put on your watch list.  The stock has pulled back
to its previous highs near $87.50.  The last two weeks have seen
shares bounce above the $86 level several times.  We suspect that
a move above $88.50-89.00 might portend a retest of the current
highs or better.

Chart=


---

Bear Stearns - BSC - close: 72.47 change: -0.24

WHAT TO WATCH: Yesterday shares of BSC broke out to new relative
highs above resistance at $72.00.  Following strength in the XBD
broker-dealer index bulls probably expected some follow through.
Unfortunately what they got today was profit taking directly
ahead of BSC's earnings report tomorrow.  Will investors sell the
news? Or will BSC deliver promising forecasts for the future in
their conference call?

Chart=


---

Caterpillar - CAT - close: 70.23 change: +0.53

WHAT TO WATCH: The stock may be on a current P&F sell signal but
it could be forming a bullish reversal.  Shares have produced
both lower highs and lower lows since the top near $74 in mid-
August.  The trend reminds us of a bullish flag consolidation
pattern.  Now that the stock has bounced from the $67 level and
its simple 50-dma we are looking for a breakout through the trend
of lower highs.  The close above $70 today is a good start and
its MACD is beginning to curl back towards a bullish signal.

Chart=



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MARKET POSTURE
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