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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 11/05/2003

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 11-05-2003
Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section One:

Wrap: Markets Pause Ahead of CSCO's Numbers
Futures Wrap: Upphase Delayed, Selloff Interrupted
Index Trader Wrap: Late bounce leaves indices unchanged
Traders Corner: Know Your Opponent


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
*******************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
*******************************************************************
     11-05-2003            High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA     9820.83 - 18.00  9859.34  9778.31 1.69 bln   1399/1397
NASDAQ   1959.37 +  1.41  1966.15  1938.22 1.93 bln   1543/1509
S&P 100   520.25 -  1.13   521.96   517.27   Totals   2942/2906
S&P 500  1051.81 -  1.44  1054.54  1044.88
RUS 2000  538.91 +  0.04   539.05   531.91
DJ TRANS 2932.74 -  8.82  2942.21  2914.64
VIX        16.86 +  0.31    17.32    16.55
VXO        17.56 +  0.14    18.33    17.44
VXN        25.20 -  0.49    26.08    25.20
Total Volume 4,025M
Total UpVol  2,131M
Total DnVol  1,790M
52wk Highs     697
52wk Lows       25
TRIN          1.00
PUT/CALL      0.69
*******************************************************************

Markets Pause Ahead of CSCO's Numbers
by James Brown

The major averages were close to unchanged by day's end but the
closing numbers hardly tell the whole story.  Investors took
profits early in the session and chose to ignore positive
economic news from the ISM services index and the U.S. factory
orders.  Yet the selling pressure could not gain any momentum and
shorts began to cover quickly in the last half hour ahead of
Cisco Systems' (CSCO) earnings report.  The heaviest selling hit
insurance, retail, and broker-dealer stocks.  The biggest gainers
were seen in homebuilders and semiconductors.  Gold futures added
another $2.70 to close at $382.70 and crude oil jumped $1.55 to
end at $30.30 a barrel.

Overall stocks were mainly flat to down.  Asian and European
exchanges closed negative but like their U.S. counterparts the
selling was mild.  Market internals for U.S. stocks were equally
flat.  Advancing issues were neck and neck with decliners 13 to
13 on the NYSE and 15 to 15 on the NASDAQ.  Up volume just
slightly out paced down volume on both exchanges.

Chart of the DJIA:




Chart of the NASDAQ:





U.S. Factory Orders for September were released today.
Economists had been looking for a 0.6 percent gain compared to a
0.8 percent decline in August.  The headline number came out at a
0.5 percent gain but the August number was revised upward from a
0.8 decline to 0.3 percent decline, which is definite
improvement.  Defense orders were sharply lower but demand for
non-defense goods jumped 4.1 percent in September, which is the
best monthly improvement in nearly a year.  Today's data is yet
another link in the chain of economic reports that shed light on
an improving manufacturing sector for the U.S. economy.

The ISM Services index or non-factory businesses index rose to
64.7 percent, the second-highest level on record.  This was the
fourth gain in five months and above estimates for a minor jump
to 63.4 percent.  The ISM Services index, like its bigger brother
the ISM factory report, indicates improvement or expansion with
any reading above 50.  Probably the most crucial part of today's
report was the employment component.  Today's ISM data showed
employment at its highest since November 2000.  It was only
yesterday that investors began to doubt there would be any job
improvement in this Friday's report from the Labor Department
because the Challenger Gray and Christmas layoff numbers had
jumped 125 percent.  Current forecasts show economists expecting
the Friday non-farm payroll report to improve by 65,000 jobs.
However, today's ISM services data has encouraged UBS Securities
to raise their estimates to a gain of 125,000 jobs.  This matches
Deutsche Bank Securities estimates for a 125,000 improvement in
the October jobs report.  Suddenly investors can renew their
positive expectations and Friday's numbers become even more
important.  Another jump in job creation and it could refill this
market's gas tank for another rally higher.  Any negative
surprise and bids could evaporate as the exits get crowded real
fast.

The economic data above should have carried more weight with
investors but Wall Street was more focused on the soon to be
announced earnings from Cisco Systems.  As a matter of fact many
traders believe the last half hour rally was short covering ahead
of the CSCO numbers.  Considering their earning results, short
covering would have been a wise move.  The company doubled its
net income from a year ago with 17 cents a share, which was 2
cents above estimates.  Revenues jumped 5.3% to $5.1 billion.
This was a record sales quarter for CSCO as the company
experienced its strongest demand in two years.  Analysts had been
looking for revenues near $4.86 billion.  CEO John Chambers was
cautiously optimistic as demand from telecom companies had risen
10 percent over the last quarter.  The stock jumped 6.6 percent
in after hours trading and could very well ignite a new rally in
the NASDAQ tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow economists will be looking for another
decline in the weekly initial jobless claims to the 380,000
level.  Last week initial claims rang in at 386K.  The
combination of CSCO's earnings surprise and the inability to
mount any sort of selling momentum today could easily send the
markets to new highs tomorrow.  We continue to urge caution on
bullish play selection but the 10,000 and 2,000 levels could be
price magnets that are too strong for the indices to resist.
Also on deck for tomorrow are the October same-store sales
numbers.  Trade carefully and watch those stop losses!


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

Upphase Delayed, Selloff Interrupted
Jonathan Levinson

In yet another chapter of what is beginning to feel like a
financial shock and awe campaign, a long-awaited 30 minute cycle
upphase delayed itself just long enough to trick equity bears
into believing that The Plunge was upon us.  But, in an inspiring
display of wit and finesse, the bulls slowly turned a weak
sideways-up phase into a rout, launching a multi-pronged robot
assault that took on fresh energy after the cash close with
positive earnings from CSCO and QCOM.  The 30 minute upphase was
merely delayed, but it was enough to pull in a new round of
shorts to be squeezed.  Bonds finished lower, gold and the US
Dollar Index higher.

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


Note regarding pivot matrix:  The support, pivot and resistance
levels above are derived from the high, low and closing price
levels by a simple mathematical formula.  They are not intended
to be predictive of market turning points or to serve as targets,
but rather represent the range retracement levels as generated by
the pivot algorithm.  Do not think of them as market "calls"
or predictions.  Like any technically-derived indicator or price
level, the pivot matrix values should be regarded as decision
points at which to evaluate current market conditions.  Visit us
in the Futures Monitor for our realtime views of the various
markets covered here.

10 minute chart of the US Dollar Index


My sympathies to anyone trying to trade this violent chart.  A
bucking bronco on diet-aids would be easier to ride, but the
trend remains inexorably higher, with the US Dollar Index up to
93.72 as of this writing.  The action appears to have been
sufficiently inscrutable to cause gold to rally anyway, along
with the CRB, up a whopping 3.56 to 250.13.


Daily chart of December gold


December gold added 2 to close at 382, with an intraday high of
384, low of 379.20.  The downphase on the daily oscillators
wasn't impacted by the bids, and the HUI actually closed 90 cents
lower at 212.09, with XAU finishing +.02.  This divergence
between the miners and the metal is strange, and bodes
potentially ill for the metals, as I believe that the miners
represent the larger market than the futures contracts on the
metal itself.  Nevertheless, the rally in gold alongside the US
Dollar strength was bullish, and we look to tomorrow to confirm
whether this anomaly is signaling something bigger at hand.  In
case of doubt, I'll follow the oscillators, which continue to
point south.


Daily chart of the ten year note yield


The ten year note yield (TNX) added 4.5 bps today to close at
4.35%.  The daily chart oscillators are signaling a weak upturn
within the apex of the large pennant we've been tracking, and
while yields might just rocket north from here, I suspect that
we'll be seeing more flip-flops as the pennant narrows preceding
the eventual breakout.


Daily NQ candles


In reviewing these charts, note that they're based on the cash
closing prices at 4PM, and note (contrary to the pivot matrix
values), the 4:15PM prints.  After the cash close, CSCO's results
added afterburners to the ramp job already in progress at 4PM,
with a print of 1443 at 4:15.  The weakness in the morning
carried well into the afternoon, with a very timid bounce that
only attracted significant buying after 3PM.  The daily cycle buy
signal was a breath away from truncating, but the launch into the
close dusted off its lapels, straightened its bowtie, and added a
jaunty spring to its step, with an upphase underway.


30 minute 20 day chart of the NQ


The market was so bleak for so much of the day that the shock-
and-awe buying spurt had to have caught most participants
completely off guard.  I was writing listlessly about the fragile
30 minute cycle upphase trying to commence since the morning, but
it seemed a foregone conclusion that it would wind up trending in
oversold.  Not so.  The bounce from the intraday low sets up a
potential head and shoulders top if it fails from below 1448,
above which bears will have to contend with a possible reverse
head and shoulders breakout theoretically projecting over 100 NQ
points to the upside.


Daily ES candles


The ES was positive after 4PM but negative at the cash close,
also on a daily cycle upphase but still laboring within the
rising bear wedge.  Little changed, except for a higher bounce
above the secondary wedge support line, now at 1443.


20 day 30 minute chart of the ES


The reverse head and shoulders pattern discussed for the NQ and
which, hopefully, has bears and bulls reading with stunned
attention, looks far less plausible on the ES chart.  The 30
minute candles look more convincing with a head and shoulders top
over the past two weeks, but to preserve its symmetry, the
advance should fail at or below 1055.  Once again, note that the
30 minute cycle oscillators are on buy signals, and to get an
idea of how difficult trading can be (if you didn't know
already), note the skidding sideways move on the 300 minute
stochastic today preceding the eventual upphase.  Note that the
steepest price slide took place when the oscillator was actually
pointed north in the morning.


Daily YM candles


Nothing to add on the YM.


20 day 30 minute chart of the YM



For tomorrow, we have the daily and 30 minute oscillators in gear
to the upside for equities, with bonds still dead in the water
within the apex of the narrowing pennant, gold bucking the trend
and the US Dollar Index powering north.  Tomorrow, we get to
learn how many shorts are actually left to squeeze, as most of
today was a large bear trap.  Another failure at the rally highs
will set up a truncated 30 minute cycle upphase, and with the VXO
closing at 17.56, we could have the potential for a meaningful
selloff.  However, as we discussed today in both the Futures and
Market Monitor, the equity price trend is not down, and there is
no shortage of bulls looking for dips to buy.  Once again,
caution (and active stops) is the prime directive.  Trade what
you see.


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

Late bounce leaves indices unchanged

Down, then up, then down, then up again to the close.  After some
marginal intra-day volatility, the major indices finished
relatively unchanged ahead of networking giant Cisco Systems'
(NSADAQ:CSCO) $21.80 +1.01% quarterly earnings, where bulls
pushed the stock to $23.00 after the company beat Wall Street's
consensus estimates by 2 cents a share.

While after-hours trading is not considered a true market
response, where all market participants cast their buy sell
votes, bulls may have played rope-a-dope for the bulk of the
session as the late afternoon rally to the close looks to have
accurately forecasted a good report from Cisco.

Cisco (CSCO) reported first-quarter pro forma earnings per share
of 17 cents, up from 14 cents a year earlier.  Net sales in the
quarter rose to $5.1 billion from $4.8 billion a year earlier,
where quarterly revenues exceeded the $5 billion mark for the
first time in 10-quarter.   Chief executive John Chambers cited
"strength across our core switching and routing businesses, as
well as traction in our advanced technologies."  Looking ahead,
CSCO's John Chambers seemed cautiously optimistic with guidance
for Q2 to see revenues up slightly from Q1 (1-3% sequentially,
10% year-over-year), with gross margins remaining healthy at 67-
69%.

The post 04:00 PM trade action in Cisco (CSCO), which is a
component of the S&P 100 Index (OEX.X) 520.25 -0.21%, S&P 500
Index (SPX.X) 1,051.81 -0.12% and NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X)
1,429.56 +0.01% helped the S&P Depository Receipts (AMEX:SPY)
$105.84 +0.07% and NASDAQ-100 Tracking Stock (AMEX:QQQ) $35.84
+0.9% finish fractionally higher.

As Cisco's conference call comes to an end, the SPY ticks by at
$105.94, while the more actively traded QQQ has settled in at
$35.90 level, and looks content below its WEEKLY R1 of $36.01.

Today's biggest news may have come out of Australia, where a hike
in official interest rates to 5.0% from 4.75% had Australia's All
Ordinaries ($AORD) 3,255.80 closing near a one-month low.  But
tonight's earnings out of Australian-base FOX Entertainment Group
(NYSE:FOX) $28.01, which trades as an ADR here in the U.S.,
helping the All Ordinaries stabilize in Thursday's early trade,
with the $AORD down just 3.2 points (-0.10%) at 3,252.60.

Shares of FOX jumped to $29.20 after the media giant reported
first-quarter (September) earnings of $0.45 per share, which was
$0.16 above consensus estimates of $0.29.  FOX officials said
"Overall, the first quarter has given us a great start to the
fiscal year, and we are well on our way to meeting our growth
forecasts for 2004."

Pivot Matrix




Today's trade did see the major indices lower at their DAILY
S2's, but buyers were found just above our WEEKLY Pivot, where
the proverbial "line drawn in the sand" looks to have ranges
defined between the WEEKLY Pivots and WEEKLY R1s.

After monitoring today's trade and seeing a late session rally
build, I did profile a bullish trade in the QQQ from $35.74
(15:49:43) with an initial bullish target of $36.45, but after
the 04:15:00 PM QQQ close, fine tuned the trade with a target of
$36.35, and stop of $35.33, after quickly calculating tomorrow's
DAILY Levels.

If I could, I want to quickly take a moment and re-print an e-
mail Jim Brown forwarded me from a trader, where I share some of
his thoughts, based on observations he makes.  The subject line
read "I am a Frustrated Short."


I respect the views you all have pertaining to the Equity Markets
BUT I cannot see anything in the charts or Sentiment Indicators I
follow (Save for the VXO) that lead me to believe a sell off is
imminent. Compq held 1940 gap.

Huge support in the 1042-1046 range on ES

60 min Stochastics are in oversold region on SPX and turning up
on the COMP.  Breadth continues to improve from lows.

5 and 10-day averages of Trin and the Put/call are neutral.

And save for a day or 2 here or there we rally on close.

I have a Strong Bearish Leaning based on the Bullish Percents and
Low VXO.  But each dip is still bought ferociously.

Short Interest is huge and it's difficult to sell off when
everyone who is short covers on each dip and then lays out new
shorts.

(The opposite of overhead supply)

Thanks to you all and would appreciate a reply


Some of this frustrated bear's comments, I hope, have been fully
addressed in past Index Trader Wraps.

Believe me, there are a lot of frustrated shorts, and as I've
discussed in some recent updates, my (Jeff Bailey) bullish
thoughts come primarily from observations of building short
interest observations, higher lows and higher highs in the daily
charts that span a couple of months, that the trader's
observations are correct, where there really IS NOT any apparent
sign that a sell off is imminent.

Sentiment indicators will frustrate bears when they're low and
will frustrate bulls when they are high.  Sometimes, I think
there is WAY too much emphasis put on sentiment indicators.
While they can suggest bullish complacency when the VIX.X, VXN.X
or VXO are low, it takes one HECK of a lot of bullish sentiment
to have these sentiment indicators low.  While the sentiment
indicators certainly depict a very HIGH level of bullishness,
this has been reflected in price action of the major indices so
far.  My mindset at this point is that the sentiment indicators
should be used by BULLS to understand the market is probably "too
bullish" and that a bullish trader should not be complacent!
Conversely, a BEAR should simply understand, the market is VERY
bullish right now.

As it relates to the bullish %, which is simply a measure of
supply/demand for various stocks that comprise the indices, these
market internal indicators suggest BULLS are currently in a HIGH
risk environment for new bull entries.  However, after profiling
a BEARISH trade way back in May in a QQQ put, when the NASDAQ-100
Bullish % ($BPNDX) moved above the 70% level, the HIGH RISK for
BULLS has remained high since that time, and QQQ/NDX price action
has shown market participants WILLING to take on that risk.

We've seen short interest in the DIA, SPY, QQQ build, but as the
trader observes, that has equated to larger losing positions,
where the pullbacks may not only be met with bullish buying, but
BEARISH buying as well, when a new high has been achieved.

Believe me when I say that EVERY bear puts on a trade when he/she
believes an old high is in, and that lower lows will be seen.
But it is the GOOD trader, that when proven wrong, immediately
looks to correct the mistake, especially on the pullback.

It is notable that while bears kept warning bulls earlier this
spring that it was dangerous to try and pick lows, some bears
have thrown that trading discipline out the window as they
attempt to pick the highs.  This comment is not directed at the
trader that sent the e-mail.  I (Jeff Bailey) have picked a few
highs, or so I've thought.  Similar to the QQQ high of $29.00
back in May.

Tonight's e-mail is timely, and many of the views expressed by
the trader, are probably not uncommon among MANY market
participants!

I (Jeff Bailey) just "know" that at some point, the high level of
BULLISH RISK is going to be removed, and while I know that EVERY
trader/investor/subscriber wants ME to tell you when it is going
to happen, I just don't know when for certain.

I dare say those that have been calling tops since April, May,
June, July, August, September, October, and even today might not
know where.  Sure.... if somebody continues to call a top, they
will eventually be proven correctly.

For me, the best way I know how to trade or investor is to try
and control risk.  At these higher levels of RISK, I'm quicker to
take a profit, and I'm quicker to cut a loss, as I (Jeff Bailey)
also sense the major averages are closer to a near-term top, than
they are a low.

The Pivot Matrix currently gives us a decent range from WEEKLY
Pivot to WEEKLY R1, and with S&P futures (sp03z) settling above
the 1,051.20 level again today, and CSCO looking to provide some
bullish catalyst for technology stocks tomorrow, I'm going to
hold a bullish bias for the indices ABOVE their WEEKLY Pivots,
and will await to see just what happens if buyers (bulls or
bearish short covering) can push the indices above their WEEKLY
R1s.

NASDAQ-100 Tracking Stock (QQQ) - Daily Intervals




Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) $46.59 -1.54% trades at $47.28 in after-
hours trade after reporting upside earnings and providing
guidance that was modestly above consensus estimates.  One would
have to think the QQQ trades higher tomorrow, but first test is
for QQQ to break above the $36.15 level, where a rising 21-day
SMA and WEEKLY Pivot of $35.03 are deemed support.

The one difference I see in the QQQ chart tonight compared to
other indices we look at is Stochastics trying to kick higher,
which gives impression that QQQ becomes a "leadership" index near
term, where we might look for strength.

S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) Chart - Daily Intervals




I hold slightest of bullish thoughts for SPX.  The BULLISH side
of me wanted to see firmer support at 1,047, but I won't discount
the ability of SPX to hold just above the weekly pivot, and stage
a rebound into the close, ahead of CSCO's earnings.

S&P 100 Index Chart - Daily Intervals




Support 516, resistance 525.  Only higher price action will keep
the OEX's MACD above its Signal.  With equal highs of 525, I view
the OEX with greater bullish caution as it has NOT been able to
make a higher high in recent week's trade.

Dow Industrials Chart - Daily Intervals




My (Jeff Bailey's) market psychology was depressed as the INDU
traded below the 9,800 level for the better part of today's
session.  I must admit that it improved late when the INDU was
able to claw its way back above 9,800.

One note worthy of pointing out I think is that the INDU didn't
come as close to testing its WEEKLY Pivot as the SPX, but gives
us a potential "domino effect" to be alert to more meaningful
weakness should the SPX, or INDU violate the WEEKLY Pivot.

Jeff Bailey


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

Know Your Opponent
by Mark Phillips
mphillips@OptionInvestor.com

We spent our time together last week looking at what's wrong with
the big picture, pointing out the disconnect between the massive
stimulus from the Fed and the lackluster economic growth in the
U.S.  In every other instance of such sharp decreases in interest
rates and increases in money supply, a robust economic recovery
has been the result.  That begs the question (which I addressed
last week) of why that hasn't been the result this time.  My
assertion was that the economic growth is happening, it just
doesn't happen to be occurring in the U.S.  The problem is that
the Fed is pushing on a string.  The economic stimulus is having
the desired effect (supercharging the economy), but it is not
being felt in THIS economy, as economic growth is running very
strong in Asia, particularly in China and India.

That really shouldn't be any great surprise, with the huge exodus
of jobs from the U.S. to foreign lands where the cost of labor is
so much lower.  With the cost of a networking engineer in the U.S.
being $70k/year and an engineer with the same capabilities in
India only costing $5k/year, is it any surprise that companies are
sending every possible job they can to lands with lower labor
costs?  It isn't a marginal difference, it is an order of
magnitude.  Of course, the problem is that as companies are able
to reduce their labor costs, they are able to further lower costs
for the products and services they provide here at home.  That
creates further pressure on all companies in the same industry to
lower their own costs, which has the result of having more and
more companies sending more and more jobs overseas.  Remember, it
isn't just the manufacturing jobs that are leaving, it is also the
design, engineering, consulting and services jobs that are leaving
our shores.

That produces an interesting dynamic.  Falling prices from the
fierce competition is a good thing to the consumer, as the
products and services purchased cost less money.  But with more
jobs moving offshore, employment continues to fall, reducing the
pool of consumers with the necessary discretionary income with
which to purchase the products and services, even though the cost
is falling.  This is where the Fed has really created a problem
through the unprecedented levels of money creation.  The more of
something there is in existence, the less valuable it is.  Well,
with a veritable flood of new money being injected into the system
over the past couple years, is it any wonder the Dollar has been
falling steadily against virtually every other major currency?
The Dollar index (DX00Y) is currently near $93.50, fresh off fresh
multi-year lows just above $91.00.

At the same time that the dollar has been weakening, foreign
governments have been intervening in the currency markets to
depress their own currencies relative to the dollar, which has the
effect of helping to prop up the dollar in relative terms.  This
is the hazard of fiat currencies -- the world may reach a kind of
equilibrium between all the major currencies (wouldn't that be
nice!), but if it is being done through the printing press
(creating money out of thin air), then the value of those
currencies will continue to deteriorate against known values.
Investors aren't stupid and they see the hazards being created by
the Fed's wanton money printing activities (and those of the other
central banks) and have been shifting assets to hard currency over
the past couple years.  When I say 'hard currency' I hope many of
you instantly think of gold, because it is the ultimate store of
value, having held its value for thousands of years.

Here's a little example that ought to drive the point home.  Fifty
years ago, let's say a loaf of bread cost a nickel.  Today that
same loaf of bread costs over a dollar.  That means the dollar is
only worth 5% of what it was 50 years ago.  In contrast, 50 years
ago, an ounce of gold would have bought a nice (not extravagant,
but nice) men's suit.  Today, that same ounce of gold can still
buy the suit.  Gold retains its value, just as fiat currencies
lose theirs.  Gold is popular because of its consistency and
portability, but that doesn't mean it is the only true store of
value.  Real estate is another good example.  It is a hard,
tangible asset that appreciates over time, negating most of the
ravages of inflation.  Art and collectibles (cars or antiques, not
Beanie Babies) are other forms of tangible, hard assets that will
retain their value over time.  The reason why is that they have
real intrinsic value.  Fiat money does not.  A dollar is only
worth something because the U.S. government says it is.  Any
notion of intrinsic value vanished when we went off the gold
standard.  Since then the Fed has gone about its merry business of
destroying the value of the dollar -- never has the pace of this
destruction been so great as under the 'leadership' of Sir
Greenspan.

Remember that interesting dynamic that I mentioned above?  With
the foregoing background information, now I think you can see the
corner we've painted ourselves into.  As more dollars have been
printed, the value of all tangible assets has been rising.  This
is classic inflation and to look at the price of these tangible
goods, we can see that inflation is moving along at a pretty good
clip.  Don't believe me?  How much is your house up in value in
the past 12 months? 5 years?  What was it worth 10 years ago?  The
cost of most manufactured goods is falling however, due to the
continued squeeze on the cost of production by moving more and
more jobs overseas.

This loss of jobs continues to reduce the pool of liquid income
available for purchasing all these products now being made
elsewhere.  At some point, the irresistible force meets the
immovable object and there just aren't enough dollars available to
chase the excessive supply of stuff and even at the reduced
prices, merchandise doesn't move in sufficient quantities for
companies to continue to grow profits.  So far, the Fed has been
able to dodge this bullet by driving interest rates to multi-
decade lows, coercing millions of people to pull money out of
those inflating assets, which has been used to help keep up the
spending spree.  Tax stimulus from the Bush administration hasn't
hurt either.

But now we're faced with the very cold reality that the
refinancing boom has run its course, the tax cuts have already
been implemented and the job market isn't improving at anywhere
near the pace necessary to sustain any meaningful economic
recovery.  Corporate profitability is looking much better over the
past couple quarters, to be sure.   But remember the stimulus of
the cash out refinancing and the tax cuts?  Don't you think that
has had a significant impact on consumers' spending patterns in
recent months?  Do you think that profligate spending is likely to
continue in the quarters ahead?  Only if business spending picks
up quickly and sharply, which will translate into more capital
investment and more hiring -- but that hiring must take place
domestically and the capital investment dollars need to be spent
here in order for that growth to translate into an improvement in
the U.S. economy.  Otherwise we're looking at a very unpleasant
situation in the not-too-distant future.

Ever since the first whiff of deflation was in the air, the Fed
has had one mission, to reflate the economy.  They've used the
standard tools to do so, but it hasn't worked and it can't work
because it is now a global economy, not a national economy.  What
the Fed has managed to do is inflate the value of tangible assets,
stimulate foreign economies that provide the bulk of our
manufactured goods and weaken our currency.  There's one other by-
product of the Fed's actions that is at the heart of what is
interesting to us here -- they've managed to re-inflate the stock
market bubble that popped in early 2000.

You see, the inflation the Fed has accomplished in housing has
translated into inflation in the equity market because of a
dangerously mistaken belief on the part of the investing public --
namely that stocks have intrinsic value.  They don't.  When you
buy a stock, you are either speculating that the price of the
stock will rise due to improving business conditions and profits,
or you are looking to be paid a residual income in the form of
dividends.  In the case of the dividend, an argument can be made
that you do have an asset, but it is only a known quantity until
management decides to change it.  Stock shares are a piece of
paper (now an electronic receipt) that are deemed to have value
because the market says they do.  But it is a very dynamic
equation and if the profits of the underlying company should fall,
so will the price of the stock.

During an economic growth phase, owning stocks can be quite
lucrative as earnings grow and P/E multiples expand.  During these
times, investors and speculators are well-rewarded for buying
values.  But things are different right now than in any other
economic recovery on record.  Stock valuations are already above
levels that usually denote an OVERVALUED market (i.e. a bull
market top).  Normally, a market top can be found with aggregate
P/E ratios at 20 or above and market bottoms are found when P/E
ratios are in the 8-10 area.  Another metric that seems to hold
true on a marketwide basis is that dividend yields should reach
into the 5-7% area near a market bottom.  We're nowhere near
market bottom valuations right now and even if we are in an
economic recovery phase, the rise in stock valuations has already
more than accounted for any recovery.  I ran across the following
statistics earlier this week that I think help to drive the point
home.

According to a 10/27 report from Merrill Lynch's Chief U.S.
Strategist, Richard Bernstein, this is where the valuations
currently rest for the DOW and the NASDAQ-100


                  DOW        NASDAQ-100
Trailing P/E      21.0       81.7
Future P/E        18.4       37.8
Dividend Yield     2.2%       0.2%

That's a sobering look at the current state of the market don't
you think?  It's currently priced to perfection, with the
expectation of strong economic recovery, a myth that I hope I've
helped to dispel here today.  But even if there were a strong
recovery, can stocks realistically be expected to go much higher
when starting out from a point of such overvaluation?  Is it any
wonder that Warren Buffet can't find a value he likes, anywhere?

My personal opinion is that the stock market is due for a large
fall, and we will likely see new lows across the board when some
of the economic realities I've laid out here come to pass.
However, please don't take my diatribe as marching orders to go
out and place large bearish trades.  What I've attempted to lay
out in the past two articles is the very big picture and where the
pitfalls lie.  Trying to trade fundamentals requires a lot of time
and a lot of patience -- not to mention very deep pockets.  If
we've developed a market bias, we have to then turn to the charts
and use what they are telling us to determine when is the time for
action.  Despite many tantalizing teasers over the past several
months, the charts have not yet given us that green light.

My intent in these past two articles was to help provide a
framework of the economic landscape in which we are currently
trading.  Hopefully it provides a good perspective so that when
the music stops and the rats scurry for the exits, you'll be in a
position to protect your assets and profit from the downside.

Have a great week!

Mark


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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 11-05-2003
Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section Two:

Stop Loss Updates: VRTS
Dropped Calls: ADTN, IMDC
Dropped Puts: None
Play of the Day: Call - VRTS
Spreads, Combinations & Premium-Selling Plays: An Incredible Comeback!
Watch List: A Few Three-Lettered Stocks to Watch

Updated on the site tonight:
Market Posture: Mixed Day


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

ADTN - CALL
Raise stop from 34.50 to 34.95


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

ADTRAN, Inc. - ADTN - close: 65.05 change: -6.68 stop: 66.40

No matter how good the chart of ADTN looked last night, it was no
match for the negative reception of news that the CEO had just
dumped 4 million shares (half his holdings) and the stock gapped
sharply lower and then continued to deteriorate throughout the
day, ending with a more than 9% loss on the day.  As noted this
morning in the Market Monitor, we wanted to avoid taking a
position unless the stock was able to shake off the negative news
and bounce from support near $69.  That bounce clearly never
happened, so no entries should have even been considered.  We've
got to just chalk it up as a case of unfortunate timing that we
fortunately managed to escape from unscathed.  Clearly after such
a dismal performance and a violated stop, we have no interest in
doing anything but dropping the play tonight.

Picked on November 4th at    $71.73
Change since picked:          -6.68
Earnings Date               1/12/04 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     1.02 mln


---

Inamed Corp - IMDC - cls: 77.79 chg: -10.06 stop: 82.49

The drama over the introduction of silicone implants continues.
Last month a FDA advisory panel voted 9 to 6 in approval of
reintroducing silicone breast implants with certain conditions.
The FDA usually follows the guidance of its advisory panels and
shares of IMDC shot higher on the positive vote.  Now the
chairman of the U.S. advisory panel is having second thoughts.
Dr. Thomas Whalen's term had expired in 2002 but he was asked to
preside over the panel as acting chairman, a non-voting position
except in the case of a tie.  Now Dr. Whalen has mailed the FDA
and urged agency not to approve this application.  His concerns
stem from long-term safety issues that he feels are still
unknown.  As would be expected Wall Street reacted strongly to
the news and IMDC gapped lower at the open.  Our put play would
have been closed at the open, under our stop loss.

Picked on November 02 at $86.16
Change since picked:     - 8.37
Earnings Date          10/29/03 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:      514 thousand
Chart =



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

None


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

Veritas Software -VRTS - close: 38.36 change: +1.31 stop: 34.95*new*

-Company Description-
As an independent supplier of storage management software, VRTS
develops and sells products that protect against data loss and
file corruption, allowing rapid recovery after disk or computer
system failure.  The company's products provide continuous data
availability in clustered computer systems with shared resources.
This enables IT managers to work efficiently with large file
systems, making it possible to manage data distributed on large
computer network systems without harming productivity or
interrupting users.  VRTS provides products for most popular
operating systems, including UNIX and Windows NT, as well as a
full range of services to assist its customers in planning and
implementing their storage management solutions.

- Most Recent Update (Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003)-
While it certainly isn't setting any records, VRTS is still
looking like a decent breakout candidate.  Over the past week, it
has been trying to solidify its breakout above $36, trading in a
fairly tight range between $36.00-37.50.  Despite the lack of
additional upside progress so far this week, we certainly like
the way the 10-dma ($36.23) appears to be providing intraday
support, with the 20-dma ($35.49) as backup.  Intraday dips and
rebounds in the $35.50-36.00 area look good for new entries as
old resistance is verified as new support.  Once clear of near-
term resistance, the next upside target will be $40, where
conservative traders may look to harvest some partial gains.
We're raising our stop to $34.50 tonight, which is now under the
30-dma ($34.57) and will be under the 50-dma ($34.42) by
tomorrow.

- Play of the Day Comments -
Finally!  Now we're beginning to see the bullish breakout in
shares of VRTS.  The stock surged higher in the last couple of
hours of the day on very strong volume.  There was little news to
explain the move, which could scare shorts into covering their
positions even faster.  The positive CSCO news tonight should set
the tech sector on fire tomorrow.  We'll be looking for some
follow through from VRTS.


- Suggested Options -
Shorter Term: The November 35 Call will offer short-term traders
the best return on an immediate move, as it is currently in the
money.

Longer Term: Aggressive traders looking to capitalize on an
extended rally will want to look to the December 40 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 December 35 Call.

BUY CALL NOV-35 VIV-KG OI=15939 at $3.80 SL=2.00
BUY CALL NOV-40 VIV-KH OI= 7030 at $0.75 SL= --
BUY CALL DEC-35 VIV-LG OI= 1437 at $4.60 SL=2.30
BUY CALL DEC-40 VIV-LH OI= 5628 at $1.60 SL=0.80

Annotated Chart:




Picked on October 28th at    $37.27
Change since picked:          +1.09
Earnings Date               1/21/04 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     6.21 mln
Chart =



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

An Incredible Comeback!
By Ray Cummins

The major U.S. equity indexes ended on an upbeat note Wednesday,
despite being deep in the red for most of the session.

Mediocre earnings and concerns over Friday's upcoming employment
report kept traders on the sell side for most of the day, however
bargain hunters reversed the trend near the closing bell.  The Dow
Jones Industrial Average slipped 18 points to 9,820 even as United
Technologies (NYSE:UTX) and 3M Corp. (NYSE:MMM) hit 52-week highs.
The NASDAQ Composite moved into positive territory near the close,
up 1 point at 1,959 despite profit-taking in internet, networking,
semiconductor and software shares.  The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
fell 1 point to 1,051 as buying pressure in homebuilders, gold and
oil services stocks could not overcome a slump in transportation
and financial issues.  Volume picked up late in the day with over
1.3 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange while 2
billion shares were swapped on the NASDAQ.  Breadth was roughly
neutral on both exchanges.  Bonds headed to new lows going into
the close with the 10-year treasury note falling 14/32 to yield
4.35%.  Later in the week, the U.S. government plans to auction
$57 billion of notes to fund borrowing and refund maturing debt.

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

SUMMARY OF CURRENT POSITIONS - AS OF 11/04/03

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

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     NOV    25    24.50  28.00   $0.50   4.78%   2.04%
ERES     NOV    32    31.50  47.00   $1.00   6.89%   3.17%
NTAP     NOV    20    19.50  24.96   $0.50   5.70%   2.56%
BRCM     NOV    27    27.00  33.72   $0.50   4.69%   1.85%
CYD      NOV    18    17.20  33.66   $0.30   4.95%   1.74%
ERES     NOV    35    34.20  47.00   $0.80   6.19%   2.34%
GENZ     NOV    47    46.55  44.99  ($1.56)  0.00%   2.04% *
LRCX     NOV    22    22.20  29.81   $0.30   3.86%   1.35%
NVLS     NOV    35    34.15  44.45   $0.85   5.35%   2.49%
RMBS     NOV    20    19.55  25.01   $0.45   6.20%   2.30%
TXN      NOV    22    22.10  29.84   $0.40   4.23%   1.81%
VECO     NOV    22    22.00  27.00   $0.50   5.04%   2.27%
APPX     NOV    22    22.05  25.30   $0.45   7.08%   2.04%
CKFR     NOV    22    22.20  27.49   $0.30   4.03%   1.35%
CYD      NOV    20    19.75  33.66   $0.25   4.37%   1.27%
ERES     NOV    35    34.55  47.00   $0.45   4.25%   1.30%
LEND     NOV    20    19.70  29.85   $0.30   5.40%   1.52%
NFLX     NOV    40    39.45  59.60   $0.55   4.89%   1.39%
NSCN     NOV    20    19.70  26.14   $0.30   4.96%   1.52%
ONXX     NOV    17    17.15  24.60   $0.35   6.57%   2.04%
ANPI     NOV    40    39.35  45.68   $0.65   6.30%   1.65%
CYD      NOV    22    22.25  33.66   $0.25   4.91%   1.12%
GPRO     NOV    22    22.10  28.40   $0.40   6.92%   1.81%
LEXR     NOV    20    19.70  23.76   $0.30   5.59%   1.52%
MSTR     NOV    45    44.55  56.03   $0.45   4.32%   1.01%
NTE      NOV    35    34.40  39.90   $0.60   6.92%   1.74%
NTLI     NOV    50    49.50  66.91   $0.50   4.38%   1.01%

There was no opportunity to initiate the bullish positions
in New Century Financial (NASDAQ:NCEN), Photon Dynamics
(NASDAQ:PHTN) or Netscreen Technologies (NASDAQ:NSCN) due
to "gap-up" in the underlying issues on the day after the
plays were offered.  The position in Palm (NASDAQ:PALM),
although profitable, has been removed from the portfolio
due to its split into shares of PalmSource (NASDAQ:PSRC)
and PalmOne (NASDAQ:PLMO).  Genzyme (NASDAQ:GENZ) is the
first naked-put position to be closed in November.


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

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

FLML     NOV    40   40.80  25.90   $0.80   8.88%    1.96%
IMCL     NOV    45   45.65  35.99   $0.65   6.97%    1.42%
SOHU     NOV    45   45.55  34.96   $0.55   5.85%    1.21%
BGEN     NOV    40   40.50  38.30   $0.50   3.96%    1.23%
MGAM     NOV    45   45.30  37.70   $0.30   3.99%    0.66%
NPSP     NOV    35   35.25  25.51   $0.25   4.53%    0.71%
NTES     NOV    60   60.70  45.16   $0.70   7.65%    1.15%
SEPR     NOV    30   30.60  25.75   $0.60   9.84%    1.96%

There was no opportunity to initiate the bearish position
in Surmodics (NASDAQ:SRDX) due to the "gap-down" in the
underlying issue on the day after the play was offered.


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

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

CUM     50.77  47.54   NOV  42  45   0.30  44.70  $0.30   Open
CYMI    45.27  49.13   NOV  35  40   0.60  39.40  $0.60   Open
ERTS   103.58  99.32   NOV  90  95   0.55  94.45  $0.55   Open
SYK     78.92  81.73   NOV  70  75   0.45  74.55  $0.45   Open
APOL    63.95  65.39   NOV  55  60   0.60  59.40  $0.60   Open
BDK     45.96  47.63   NOV  40  45   0.75  44.25  $0.75   Open
SEE     52.31  53.82   NOV  45  50   0.50  49.50  $0.50   Open
GDT     51.47  51.22   NOV  45  50   0.60  49.40  $0.60   Open
IFIN    35.10  35.99   NOV  30  32   0.25  32.25  $0.25   Open
MXIM    48.24  49.64   NOV  40  45   0.45  44.55  $0.45   Open

The position in J2 Global Communications (NASDAQ:JCOM) has
previously been closed to limit potential losses.


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

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

MEDI    33.09  25.16   NOV  40  37   0.30  37.80  $0.30   Open
BUD     48.89  49.02   NOV  55  50   0.50  50.50  $0.50   Open
KMX     32.31  31.99   NOV  40  35   0.70  35.70  $0.70   Open
NBR     36.75  36.80   NOV  42  40   0.25  40.25  $0.25   Open
AMGN    60.30  61.09   NOV  70  65   0.45  65.45  $0.45   Open
FRE     57.03  56.25   NOV  65  60   0.60  60.60  $0.60   Open
FNM     72.75  70.87   NOV  80  75   0.65  75.65  $0.65   Open
BBOX    42.35  44.55   NOV  50  45   0.45  45.45  $0.45   Open
GILD    52.00  53.66   NOV  60  55   0.60  55.60  $0.60   Open
MANH    28.30  28.64   NOV  35  30   0.50  30.50  $0.50   Open

Wellpoint Health Networks (NYSE:WLP) has previously been closed
to limit potential losses.


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

No Open Positions


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

No Open Positions


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.

**************
ICOS - ICOS Corporation  $46.87  *** Next Leg Up? ***

ICOS Corporation (NASDAQ:ICOS) develops pharmaceutical products
with significant commercial potential by combining its unique
capabilities in molecular, cellular and structural biology,
high-throughput drug screening, medicinal chemistry and gene
expression profiling. The firm applies its integrated approach
to erectile dysfunction and other urologic disorders, sepsis,
pulmonary arterial hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, as
well as inflammatory diseases. The company has established
collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
to enhance its internal development capabilities and to offset
a substantial portion of the financial risk of developing its
product candidates.

ICOS - ICOS Corporation  $46.87

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 40    IIQ WH    2320   0.35  39.65   5.1%   0.9% *
SELL PUT  NOV 45    IIQ WI    1509   1.35  43.65  13.2%   3.1%


**************
IMCL - ImClone  $36.47  *** Erbitux Approval Coming? ***

ImClone Systems (NASDAQ:IMCL) is a biopharmaceutical company whose
mission is to advance oncology care by developing a portfolio of
targeted biologic treatments designed to address the medical needs
of patients with a variety of cancers. The company's lead product,
Erbitux, is a therapeutic antibody that inhibits stimulation of
epidermal growth factor receptor upon which certain solid tumors
depend in order to grow. In addition to the development of its
lead product candidates, the company conducts research in a number
of areas related to its core focus of growth factor blockers, as
well as cancer vaccines and angiogenesis inhibitors.  IMCL has also
developed diagnostic products and vaccines for certain infectious
diseases.

IMCL - ImClone  $36.47

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 30    QCI WF    3011   0.25  29.75   5.3%   0.8% *
SELL PUT  NOV 35    QCI WG    3005   1.25  33.75  15.6%   3.7%


**************
GPRO - Gen-Probe  $29.11  *** Recovery In Progress! ***

Gen-Probe (NASDAQ:GPRO) is a leader in the development, manufacture
and marketing of rapid, accurate and cost-effective nucleic acid
testing products used for the clinical diagnosis of human diseases
and for screening donated human blood.  Using its patented NAT
technology, Gen-Probe has received FDA approvals or clearances for
over 60 products that detect a variety of infectious microorganisms,
including those causing sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis,
strep throat, pneumonia and fungal infections.  Additionally, the
company developed and manufactures the only FDA-approved blood
screening assay for the simultaneous detection of HIV-1 and HCV,
which is marketed by Chiron Corporation.  Gen-Probe and Bayer
Corporation have formed a collaboration to develop, manufacture and
market nucleic acid diagnostic tests for certain viral organisms,
and under the agreement Bayer has the right to distribute these
tests.  Gen-Probe has 20 years of nucleic acid detection research
and product development experience, and its products are used daily
in clinical laboratories and blood collection centers throughout the
world.  Quarterly earnings are due on 10/30/03.

GPRO - Gen-Probe  $29.11

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 25    PSU WE     943   0.25  24.75   5.7%   1.0% *
SELL PUT  NOV 27.5  PSU WY    1505   0.70  26.80  11.7%   2.6%


**************
MRVL - Marvell Technology  $45.21  *** Testing 2003 Highs! ***

Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL) designs, develops and markets integrated
circuits utilizing proprietary communications mixed-signal and
digital signal processing technology for communications-related
markets.  Marvell offers its customers a wide range of integrated
circuit solutions using proprietary communications mixed-signal
processing and digital signal processing technologies.  Marvell's
product groups include: storage products, consisting of a variety
of read channel, system-on-chip and preamplifier products; and
broadband communications products, consisting of a variety of
transceiver products, switching products, internetworking
products and wireless LAN products.

MRVL - Marvell Technology  $45.21

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 40    UVM WH    2094   0.35  39.65   4.7%   0.9% *
SELL PUT  NOV 45    UVM WT    1720   0.90  44.10   8.6%   2.0%


**************
MSTR - MicroStrategy  $56.06  *** Another 2-Year High! ***

MicroStrategy (NASDAQ:MSTR) is a global leader in the increasingly
critical business intelligence software market.  Large and small
firms alike are harnessing MicroStrategy's business intelligence
software to gain vital insights from their data to help them
proactively enhance cost-efficiency, productivity and customer
relations and optimize revenue-generating strategies.  The firm's
business intelligence platform offers exceptional capabilities that
provide organizations, in virtually all facets of their operations,
with user-friendly solutions to their data query, reporting, and
advanced analytical needs, and distributes valuable insight on this
data to users via Web, wireless, and voice.

MSTR - MicroStrategy  $56.06

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 50    EOU WJ     479   0.45  49.55   4.8%   0.9% *
SELL PUT  NOV 55    EOU WK     216   1.85  53.15  14.3%   3.5%


**************
NVLS - Novellus Systems  $44.31  *** New Trading Range? ***

Novellus Systems (NASDAQ:NVLS) manufactures, sells and services
semiconductor processing equipment.  The company's products are
comprised primarily of advanced systems used to deposit thin
conductive and insulating films on semiconductor devices, as well
as equipment for preparing the device surface prior to these
deposition processes.  Novellus is a supplier of high productivity
deposition and surface preparation systems used in the fabrication
of integrated circuits.  Chemical Vapor Deposition systems employ
a chemical plasma to deposit all of the dielectric (insulating)
layers and certain of the metal (conductive) layers on the surface
of a semiconductor wafer.  Physical Vapor Deposition systems are
used to deposit conductive metal layers by sputtering metallic
atoms from the surface of a target source via high DC power.
Electrofill systems are used for depositing copper conductive
layers in a dual damascene design architecture using an aqueous
solution.

NVLS - Novellus Systems  $44.31

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 40    NLQ WH    7390   0.35  39.65   4.5%   0.9% *
SELL PUT  NOV 45    NLQ WA    2947   0.85  44.15   7.9%   1.9%


**************
PHTN - Photon  $40.91  *** Rally Mode! ***

Photon Dynamics (NASDAQ:PHTN) is a provider of yield management
solutions to the flat panel display (FPD) industry.  The company
also offers yield management solutions for the printed circuit
board assembly and advanced semiconductor packaging industries
and the cathode ray tube display and CRT glass and auto glass
industries.  The firm's test, repair and inspection systems are
used by manufacturers to collect data, analyze product quality
and identify and repair product defects at critical steps in the
manufacturing.

PHTN - Photon  $40.91

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 35    PDU WG     179   0.25  34.75   4.2%   0.7%
SELL PUT  NOV 37.5  PDU WU      45   0.60  36.90   7.9%   1.6% *
SELL PUT  NOV 40    PDU WH      30   1.35  38.65  14.4%   3.5%


**************
PMCS - PMC-Sierra  $21.15  *** On The Move! ***

PMC-Sierra (NASDAQ:PMCS) designs, develops, markets and supports
a broad range of high-performance integrated circuits primarily
used in the telecommunications and data networking industries.
The company has more than 120 different semiconductor devices
that are sold to equipment manufacturers, who in turn supply
their equipment principally to communications network service
providers and enterprises.  The firm also provides semiconductor
solutions for customers by leveraging its intellectual property,
design expertise and systems knowledge across a wide range of
applications.  The company's networking products are sold into
four areas of the global network infrastructure: metro, access,
enterprise/storage and consumer-related markets.

PMCS - PMC-Sierra  $21.15

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 17.5  SQL WW    1467   0.25  17.25   8.8%   1.4% *
SELL PUT  NOV 20    SQL WD     510   0.80  19.20  17.6%   4.2%


**************
NTAP - Network Appliance  $25.19  *** Consolidation Complete? ***

Network Appliance (NASDAQ:NTAP) is a provider of enterprise
network storage and data management solutions.  NetApp network
storage solutions and service offerings provide data-intensive
enterprises with consolidated storage, improved data center
operations, economical business continuance and efficient remote
data access.  The company's solutions meet the needs of archive,
reference, departmental/remote office, business internal and
business operations, and business-critical data with a common
product architecture and data management methodology.

NTAP - Network Appliance  $25.19

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 22.5  NUL WX    2946   0.25  22.25   5.9%   1.1% *
SELL PUT  NOV 25    NUL WE    6876   1.05  23.95  17.2%   4.4%


**************
QCOM - Qualcomm  $46.59  *** Solid Earnings! ***

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

QCOM - Qualcomm  $46.59

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 42.5  AAO WV     6911  0.35  42.15   4.2%   0.8% *
SELL PUT  NOV 45    AAO WI    14048  0.95  44.05   9.4%   2.2%


**************
VRNT - Verint Systems  $22.34  *** Trading Range? ***

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  $22.34

PLAY (sell naked put):

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

SELL PUT  NOV 20    JOQ WD     122   0.25  19.75   6.5%   1.3% *
SELL PUT  NOV 22.5  JOQ WX      29   1.10  21.40  19.3%   5.1%


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

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.

***************
ELAB - Eon Labs  $43.74  *** Bullish Outlook! ***

Eon Labs (NASDAQ:ELAB) is a generic pharmaceutical company engaged
in developing, licensing, manufacturing, selling and distributing
a range of prescription pharmaceutical products primarily in the
United States.  The company focuses on drugs in a variety of solid
oral dosage forms, utilizing both immediate and sustained release
delivery, in tablet, multiple layer tablet, film-coated tablet and
capsule forms.  The company does not depend on any single drug or
therapeutic category for a majority of its sales.

ELAB - Eon Labs  $43.74

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  NOV-35.00  ESQ-WG  OI=32  ASK=$0.15
SELL PUT  NOV-40.00  ESQ-WH  OI=50  BID=$0.50
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.40-$0.45
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=8% B/E=$39.60


**************
HIT - Hitachi  $63.61  *** New 2003 High! ***

Hitachi (NYSE:HIT) is a global electronics company that makes and
markets a range of products, including computers, semiconductors,
consumer products, and power and industrial equipment.  The firm's
business is very diversified, and is classified into five industry
segments: Information Systems and Electronics, Power and Industrial
Systems, Consumer Products, Materials, and Service and Other.

HIT - Hitachi  $63.61

PLAY (less conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  NOV-55.00  HIT-WK  OI=144  ASK=$0.20
SELL PUT  NOV-60.00  HIT-WL  OI=41   BID=$0.70
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.55-$0.60
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=12% B/E=$59.45


**************
WFMI - Whole Foods Market  $59.00  *** Earnings Speculation ***

Whole Foods Market (NYSE:WFMI) owns and operates a chain of natural
and organic foods supermarkets.  The categories of products that
the company offers include: produce, grocery, meat and poultry,
seafood, bakery, prepared foods, specialty (beer/wine/cheese),
nutritional supplements, body care, pet products, floral, household
products and educational products such as books.  On average, the
company's stores carry approximately 26,000 SKUs (stock-keeping
units) of food and non-food products.  Whole Foods has a broad
product selection with a heavy emphasis on perishable foods that
appeal to both natural foods and gourmet shoppers.  Earnings are
due on 11/12/03.

WFMI - Whole Foods Market  $59.00

PLAY (conservative - bullish/credit spread):

BUY  PUT  NOV-50.00  FMQ-WJ  OI=1484  ASK=$0.25
SELL PUT  NOV-55.00  FMQ-WK  OI=1273  BID=$0.65
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.45-$0.50
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=9% B/E=$54.55


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

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.

***************
FLML - Flamel Technologies  $24.86  *** Profit-Taking Continues ***

Flamel Technologies (NASDAQ:FLML) is a biopharmaceutical company
engaged mainly in the development of two polymer-based delivery
technologies for medical applications.  The company's Micro-pump
technology is a multi-particulate technology for oral ingestion
of small molecule drugs with applications in controlled release,
tastemasking and bioavailability enhancement.  The company has
three major products based on its Micropump technology: Asacard,
a controlled-release formulation of aspirin for the treatment of
cardiovascular disease; Metformin XL, a controlled-release form
of Metformin that is in development for use for the treatment of
Type II diabetes, and Genvir, a controlled-release acyclovir for
the treatment of genital herpes.  In addition, FLML has developed
new herbicide delivery systems and has patented a biomaterial,
ColCys.

FLML - Flamel Technologies  $24.86

PLAY (sell naked call):

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

SELL CALL  NOV 30    FLU KF   2,836   0.25  30.25   8.6%   0.8% *
SELL CALL  NOV 25    FLU KE     723   1.60  26.60  25.1%   6.0%


**************
PCLN - Priceline.com  $21.66  *** Post-Earnings Sell-Off! ***

Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) offers products for sale in two major
categories: a travel service that offers leisure airline tickets,
hotel rooms, rental cars, packaged vacations and cruises; and a
personal finance service that offers home mortgages, refinancing
and home equity loans through an independent licensee.  PCLN also
owns travel Web sites Lowestfare.com and Rentalcars.com.  The firm
is part-owner of Internet travel service Travelweb.  Priceline.com
licenses its business model to independent licensees, including
pricelinemortgage and certain international licensees.

PCLN - Priceline.com  $21.66

PLAY (sell naked call):

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

SELL CALL  NOV 25    PUZ KE     379   0.30  25.30   9.5%   1.2% *
SELL CALL  NOV 22.5  PUZ KX     205   0.80  23.30  16.6%   3.4%


**************
SEPR - Sepracor  $26.26  *** Downtrend Intact ***

Sepracor (NASDAQ:SEPR) is a research-based pharmaceutical company
dedicated to treating and preventing human disease through the
discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical
compounds, including product candidates directed toward serving
unmet medical needs.  The firm's proprietary compounds are either
single-isomer or active metabolite forms of existing drugs, which
Sepracor refers to as improved chemical entities, or new chemical
entity compounds, which are unrelated to current products.

SEPR - Sepracor  $26.26

PLAY (sell naked call):

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

SELL CALL  NOV 30    ERQ KF   1,247   0.25  30.25   6.4%   0.8% *
SELL CALL  NOV 27.5  ERQ KY     745   0.80  28.30  14.2%   2.8%


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

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.

**************
ATH - Anthem  $68.61  *** WellPoint Buyer In A Slump! ***

Anthem (NYSE:ATH) is an Indiana-domiciled publicly traded firm
that, through its subsidiary companies, provides health care
benefits to more than 11.8 million people and specialty benefits
to 12.1 million people.  Anthem is the fourth largest publicly
traded health benefits company in the United States and also an
independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Anthem is the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Indiana,
Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada,
Maine and Virginia, excluding the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

ATH - Anthem  $68.61

PLAY (moderately aggressive - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  NOV-75.00  ATH-KO  OI=2933  ASK=$0.15
SELL CALL  NOV-70.00  ATH-KN  OI=3144  BID=$0.85
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.70-$0.80
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=16% B/E=$70.70


**************
MDT - Medtronic  $44.03  *** Industry Pricing Pressure? ***

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is a medical technology firm that provides
lifelong solutions for people with chronic disease.  The company
offers products and therapies for use by medical professionals
to meet the healthcare needs of their patients.  Primary products
include those for bradycardia pacing, tachy-arrhythmia management,
heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary vascular disease,
endovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart valve
replacement, extra-corporeal cardiac support, minimally invasive
cardiac surgery, malignant and non-malignant pain, diabetes,
urological disorders, gastroenterological ailments, movement
disorders, spinal surgery, neurosurgery, neurodegenerative
disorders and ear, nose and throat surgery.

MDT - Medtronic  $44.03

PLAY (moderately aggressive - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  NOV-47.50  MDT-KW  OI=4550  ASK=$0.10
SELL CALL  NOV-45.00  MDT-KI  OI=1809  BID=$0.50
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.40-$0.45
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=19% B/E=$45.40


**************
MMC - Marsh & McLennan  $44.10  *** Putnam Problems Continue! ***

Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE:MMC) is a global professional
services firm.  MMC is the parent firm of various subsidiaries
and affiliates that provide clients with analysis, advice and
transactional capabilities in the fields of risk and insurance
services, investment management and consulting.  The company's
risk and insurance services are provided by its subsidiaries
and their affiliates as broker, agent or consultant for insureds,
insurance underwriters and other brokers, on a worldwide basis,
in the areas of risk management and insurance broking, reinsurance
broking and services and related insurance services.  Investment
management and other related services are provided by Putnam
Investments Trust and its subsidiaries.  Mercer Incorporated and
related affiliates, separately and in collaboration, provide
consulting and related services from locations around the world,
primarily to business organizations.

MMC - Marsh & McLennan  $44.10

PLAY (moderately aggressive - bearish/credit spread):

BUY  CALL  NOV-50.00  MMC-KJ  OI=1797  ASK=$0.10
SELL CALL  NOV-45.00  MMC-KI  OI=6392  BID=$0.70
INITIAL NET-CREDIT TARGET=$0.65-$0.75
POTENTIAL PROFIT(max)=15% B/E=$45.65


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

SEE DISCLAIMER - SECTION 1

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


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

A Few Three-Lettered Stocks to Watch

Progressive Corp - PGR - close: 75.18 change: -0.29

WHAT TO WATCH: We are keeping an eye on shares of insurance
company Progressive.  The stock is very close to its all time
highs and overhead resistance near the $76.20 level.  Its P&F
chart is showing a bullish catapult breakout.  We'd like to see a
new high before opening any new bullish positions.

Chart=


---

Best Buy Co - BBY - close: 58.34 change: -1.07

WHAT TO WATCH: There will be lots of retail news tomorrow with a
parade of October same-store sales numbers.  We're curious to
know if BBY will see any selling.  A pull back and bounce from
the $55 level looks like an attractive entry point for new
bullish positions.  However, given its rising trend from April it
could be due for a three to four week consolidation before its
next leg up.

Chart=


---

Caterpillar - CAT - close: 74.94 change: +0.13

WHAT TO WATCH: With the steady stream of positive economic
manufacturing data there appears to be a new interest in
industrial stocks like CAT.  Shares continue to build slowly on a
steady bounce from the $70 level and look ready to fill the gap
from mid-October.  MACD is positive.

Chart=


---

Illinois Tool Works - ITW - close: 74.60 change: +0.26

WHAT TO WATCH: The relative strength in shares of ITW is
impressive.  This is another cyclical stock that should be
benefiting from the improving manufacturing data.  The daily
chart appears to show a reverse H&S pattern breakout.  We do see
long-time resistance near $77.50 on its weekly chart.  While we
like the relative strength the recent rally has been fueled by
declining volume.  That's typically a bad sign.  This could be
one worth watching.

Chart=


---

Johnson and Johnson - JNJ - close: 49.15 change: +0.00

WHAT TO WATCH: We've been watching JNJ for a long time.  While
we've privately been correct on its declining trend the stock
just doesn't appear to move very fast and that can be frustrating
for option traders (thus we've chosen to not add it to the OI put
list).  Now the stock is very close to breaking support at the
$49.00 level, a battleground bitterly fought over by bulls and
the bears.  A decisive break could lead the stock toward the $45
level.  Unfortunately, we may not know if there is any momentum
behind it until it pierces the $48 level.

Chart=



**************
MARKET POSTURE
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Mixed Day

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