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Daily Newsletter, Tuesday, 06/08/2004

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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Tuesday 06-08-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                       1 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section One:

Wrap: Major Resistance Ahead
Futures Markets: See Note
Index Trader Wrap: See Note
Market Sentiment: Upbeat but cautious


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
************************************************************
      06-08-2004           High     Low     Volume   Adv/Dcl
DJIA    10432.52 + 41.40 10432.81 10353.05 1.46 bln 1473/1721
NASDAQ   2023.53 +  2.90  2023.54  2008.30 1.47 bln 1342/1719
S&P 100   556.74 +  1.05   556.88   553.43   Totals 2815/3440
S&P 500  1142.12 +  1.70  1142.16  1135.45
W5000   11109.09 +  9.10 11120.32 11061.27
SOX       489.41 +  1.20   489.41   481.61
RUS 2000  577.91 -  0.99   578.90   575.70
DJ TRANS 3072.40 + 32.30  3072.45  3030.72
VIX        15.01 -  0.38    15.88    15.00
VXO (VIX-O)13.75 -  0.95    15.17    13.75
VXN        22.26 -  0.39    23.10    22.10
Total Volume 3,116M
Total UpVol  1,648M
Total DnVol  1,388M
Total Adv  3137
Total Dcl  3787
52wk Highs  202
52wk Lows    49
TRIN       0.92
NAZTRIN    0.66
PUT/CALL   0.86
************************************************************

Major Resistance Ahead
by Jim Brown

You could not tell it from the indexes during the morning
session with red across the board but the market is still
in rally mode. They did not stray far from the bullish
trend started on Monday despite the negative start. The
Russell was the only index to finish in the red although
gains on all but the Dow were slight. The good news was
a consolidation in place after the monster move on Monday
and a bullish close at the highs. It would appear the stage
was set for another big move but in which direction?

Dow Chart - Daily


Nasdaq Chart - Daily


SOX Chart - Daily



The economic reports were mixed today with the Chain Store
Sales showing only a slight gain for the week after posting
a loss last week. Consumers are not rushing to the stores
now that the income tax refund checks are slowing.

Slightly bigger news came from the Richmond Fed Manufacturing
Survey which rose to 22 in May from 13 in April. While the
headline number posted a large jump there was trouble in the
components. New orders fell to 12 from 17 and back orders
dropped into negative territory at -1 and down from +9 in
April. The six-month outlook also fell to 16 from 22. The
only really bright component was employment which jumped
from +1 to +9 and the strongest reading in over two years.
The new orders component was the lowest reading since Oct.
The picture is clear that manufacturing may have peaked in
early May and is beginning to decline into the summer
doldrums. It is ironic that employment peaked to a two
year high just as orders and backlog dropped off.

Wednesday we will see Mortgage Applications, Labor Turnover
and Wholesale Trade. The NY Fed President will speak at
11:15 and the Kansas Fed President at 4:15. Several
previously scheduled events have been rescheduled due to
the Reagan services on Friday. The PPI has been moved to
Thursday from Friday. Trade Balances have been moved to
Monday from Friday along with Consumer Confidence.
Greenspan's confirmation testimony has been moved to June
15th from Thursday. The Russell rebalance announcement will
still be on Friday and will prevent a lot of positioning
that normally occurs on announcement Friday. Look for
Monday to have some added Russell volatility added to
option expiration week.

With minimum economic news today and very little stock news
the markets were left with some huge gains from Monday that
needed to be digested. Early in the morning Greenspan sent
traders an after dinner mint that was tough to chew. In a
speech on economic developments he as much as said the Fed
was going to raise faster than expected. There was all the
required qualifications and the doublespeak but the message
was clear. The economy is growing and while we think inflation
is under control we are prepared to act aggressively at any
sign of increased inflation. He then went on to target things
like oil prices that could cause increased inflation. He
kept the measured pace phrase but the general context of
the speech was bullish towards the economy and concern
inflation might suddenly appear.

He pointed out that business have suddenly picked up a
significant degree of pricing power and moved away from
heavy discounting. In the first four months of this year
consumer prices rose +4.4% compared with only +1.9% for
all of last year. Core prices, excluding food and energy,
have risen +3% compared to +1.3% for all of 2003. The Fed
rate hike picture is clear and it is soon. The Fed funds
futures are still predicting +75 basis points by the Aug
meeting. No change in that prediction but the chance of
June being +25 and Aug +50 are now almost 100%.

Traders have already priced this into the market and the
Greenspan comments today only riled the markets for a short
period but they did cause uneasiness. Whenever the Fed
starts talking about getting aggressive the memory of the
1994 parallel quickly returns. This memory capped the
morning rebound and kept us from moving higher at the
close.

The offset to the Greenspan comments was a serious drop in
oil prices just after 1:45. The price of crude dropped from
$38.20 to $37.20 in the last 30 min of trading ending with
a -1.50 drop for the day. This is a five-week low and a move
under the 50dma, a level that has held prices since last
September. Traders are afraid of a build in U.S. supplies
and an end to price speculation. OPEC comments were flowing
again today and Saudi Arabia said they would pump as much
oil as anybody was willing to take. Oil and Gas supplies
will be announced at 10:30 tomorrow morning.

The sudden drop in crude prices sent the Dow and S&P
soaring at 2:PM but they could not hold their gains once
the oil market closed. Sellers appeared at resistance and
the indexes began a late afternoon plunge. The Dow fell
from 10432 to 10385 in only a matter of minutes but once
the 10400 level was broken with a sell program the buyers
rushed into fill the gap. The Dow quickly recovered its
-45 point drop and finished back near 10430. This was the
first close over 10400 in over a month. The Dow has risen
+500 points since the May 25th low without any material
profit taking. The Dow is approaching serious resistance
at 10450-10550.

The Nasdaq recovered from its bout of morning depression
and recovered to close over 2020 for the first time since
April 27th. The Nasdaq is up +60 points since the pre
Intel swoon last week. The Nasdaq is also approaching
very serious resistance at 2050-2070.

We talk about the Dow and Nasdaq as "the" market quite
often but the real market is more properly reflected
in the broader S&P and Russell-2000. The S&P closed
at 1141.50 and right at the beginning of very serious
resistance from 1140-1150. Where the Nasdaq has a few
points to run before strong resistance the S&P is there
already. This suggests that further gains this week
could be really tough to manage.

Along with the picture of resistance on the various
indexes above there is another form of resistance brewing.
I have not spoken of this in quite a while but like a bad
penny it keeps turning up again. The VXO closed at an all
time low (for this symbol) of 13.75. In the year since the
VIX was converted to a complicated formula to calculate
volatility from a wider range of SPX options the VXO (old
VIX) has continued to keep time with the various market
swings. The close today is a warning siren that there is
entirely too much bullishness given the current environment.
The VXO/VIX is calculated on the SPX. As such you would
expect a strong correlation between SPX movement and VXO
movement.

Chart of VXO-SPX - Daily


Chart of VXO-RUT - Daily



I had never compared a Russell chart to the VXO before but
the reaction was equally amazing. On both the SPX and RUT
charts whenever the VXO hit the low 14s the upward market
momentum completely stopped. There has not been one single
day since mid January where the markets made a new high
after the VXO hit 14 without first seeing a sell off. Some
of the sell offs were dramatic. In late April the VXO hit
14 on two consecutive days and a -60 point SPX drop followed.
I am not asking you to take my word, simply compare the
charts above. The VXO is flashing a strong warning that
the rally may be nearing its end.

We all know that the VXO can go below 14. That just happens
to be its recent trigger point. I am not trying to build a
case that we always have some kind of response every time
the VXO hits a particular level. I am only pointing out that
Since January the markets have behaved in a particular way
whenever the VXO hit 14. That is six times in six months.
If this was a horse race and number 14 was running I would
bet on it to win over Smarty Pants every time.

So what is this telling us? The markets are on a roll. Even
bad news has no impact and good news just adds fuel to the
flames. Shorts are getting squeezed at ever turn and old
resistance levels are falling daily. Still this rally has
been built on very light volume. We have not traded 4B
shares since May-19th and the volume continues to drop each
day. Today was only 3.1B shares. The Nasdaq has rallied in
June on 22% less than its average daily volume for May. We
have not hit 2B shares on the Nasdaq since May-3rd. Volume
today was only 1.4B. To put it bluntly there is no conviction
to this rally. That is not always bad but it is certainly
something to watch for. It will take conviction to move
much higher.

The SPX is right at the beginning of very strong resistance
and there is no real event to push it higher. All the good
news is priced in and all the bad news has been discounted.
In short we may be running out of news just when we need a
really strong catalyst to break the current resistance
levels. Using the SPX chart below you can see the very
strong resistance range we are facing.

SPX Chart - Daily




For the rest of the week I would be very cautious about
being long. We have some huge event risk with the G8 meeting
in progress in Georgia and the influx of VIPs for the Reagan
services on Friday. Expiration is next week and we could see
some real volatility over the next two days as those
positions are rolled forward before the weekend event risk.
We are only three weeks from the June-30 Fed meeting and
Iraq turnover. Plenty of opportunity for an event to spoil
the party. We had news of pending Al Qaeda attacks on the
U.S. on Monday and the market did not even blink. They will
blink when it happens for real.

I told you on Sunday to be ready for a rally and prepare
to buy any dips. Unfortunately we saw the rally but no dips.
The rally exploded out of the gate on Monday and added to
last weeks gains. Now I am suggesting being cautious about
being long. We can move higher but it probably will not be
a straight run and will likely be very choppy and range
bound. I feel the most likely direction will be flat to
down with very minimal additional gains. Watch the SPX.
With resistance growing with every point gained toward
1150 it will be the best barometer for market direction.

Enter Passively, Exit Aggressively.

Jim Brown
Editor


***************
FUTURES MARKETS
***************

Futures wrap is not emailed due to the excessive number of charts.
It may be read on the website at this address.
http://www.OptionInvestor.com/indexes/futureswrap.asp



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

Check the Site Later Tonight For Jeff's Index Trader Article
http://members.OptionInvestor.com/itrader/marketwrap/iw_060804_1.asp


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****************
MARKET SENTIMENT
****************

Upbeat but cautious
- J. Brown

Investor sentiment feels pretty upbeat with stocks rising, jobs
rising, and corporate profits rising yet there seems to be an
undercurrent of caution.  That's not surprising.  The G8 summit
is a big target for terrorists but they're going to have a hard
time getting past security to Sea Island, Georgia.  The state
funeral in Washington to mourn President Reagan's death is also a
big target with all the high profile attendees but security is
going to be super tight.  Fortunately, if there was any question
yesterday if the Dow Industrials had or had not broken out above
its descending trendline of resistance it has been answered
today.  The 41-point gain in the Dow put it above the 10,400
level and the age-old index closed at its high for the session,
which is generally a positive sign for tomorrow.

Boosting positive interest in stocks was the drop in crude oil
prices.  July futures for crude hit new six-week lows and broke
down through support at the $38.00 level as well as its 40 and
50-dma's.  This of course weighed on the energy sector and the
OIX, OSX, and XNG indices all closed lower.  In contrast the Dow
Jones Transportation index continues to rally and is nearing
major resistance at the 3090 (and 4000) level.  The TRAN is
starting to look pretty overbought as it nears resistance.  That
should make some of you cautious.

The SOX semiconductor index is valiantly trying to breakout over
resistance at 490 and its 100 and 200-dma's but it just couldn't
do it today and that may have been what kept the NASDAQ in check.
Meanwhile the GHA hardware index did breakout over its 200-dma
just as IBM pushed through its own resistance at $90 and its 40
and 50-dma's.  Overall market internals were mixed to bearish.
The advance/decline line was negative with 5 losers for every 4
winners on the NYSE and almost 17 decliners per 13 winners on the
NASDAQ.  The up and down volume numbers were very close to even
on the NYSE but bears had the edge.  Volume was more bullish on
the NASDAQ but not by any significant ratio.

Traders should probably double check their stop losses and
reassess how much risk they're willing to take.  The VXO
volatility index is waving a HUGE warning sign.  Remember that
the VXO is the old VIX.  This gauge of investor fear has
plummeted lower in the last two sessions and hit a new all-time
low since it began trading under the new symbol.  That doesn't
mean that the markets are going to sell off tomorrow but it does
mean we could be at a short-term top.  Of course if there's one
thing we've learned about the volatility indices in the last year
is that they can sink a lot lower than generally thought they
would.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Market Averages

DJIA ($INDU)

52-week High: 10753
52-week Low :  8871
Current     : 10432

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 10234
 50-dma: 10265
200-dma: 10091



S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1163
52-week Low :  962
Current     : 1142

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1123
 50-dma: 1119
200-dma: 1089



Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 1559
52-week Low : 1180
Current     : 1495

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1465
 50-dma: 1447
200-dma: 1431



-----------------------------------------------------------------

CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) = 15.01 -0.38
CBOE Mkt Volatility old VIX  (VXO) = 13.75 -0.95
Nasdaq Volatility Index (VXN)      = 22.26 -0.39


-----------------------------------------------------------------

          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume

Total          0.86        617,310       531,082
Equity Only    0.66        457,046       300,707
OEX            1.54         25,276        38,917
QQQ            1.78         20,472        36,498


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          66.2    + 2     Bear Confirmed
NASDAQ-100    40.0    + 2     BULL ALERT
Dow Indust.   70.0    + 2     Bear Confirmed
S&P 500       63.4    + 2     Bear Confirmed
S&P 100       63.0    + 1     Bear Confirmed



Bullish percent measures the number of stocks in an index
currently trading on a buy signal on their point and figure
chart.  Readings above 70 are considered overbought, and readings
below 30 are considered oversold.

Bull Confirmed  - Aggressively long
Bull Alert      - Cautiously long
Bull Correction - Pause or pullback in upward trend
Bear Alert      - Take defensive action if long
Bear Confirmed  - High risk if long, good conditions for shorting
Bear Correction - Pause or rebound in downtrend


-----------------------------------------------------------------

 5-dma: 0.87
10-dma: 0.83
21-dma: 0.97
55-dma: 1.03


Extreme readings above 1.5 are bullish, and readings below .85
are bearish.  These signals don't occur often and tend be early,
but when they do, they can signal significant market turning
points.


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Market Internals

            -NYSE-   -NASDAQ-
Advancers    1283      1324
Decliners    1506      1676

New Highs     117       100
New Lows       24        13

Up Volume    695M      783M
Down Vol.    712M      628M

Total Vol.  1448M     1440M
M = millions


-----------------------------------------------------------------

Commitments Of Traders Report: 06/01/04

Weekly COT report discloses positions held by small specs
and commercial traders of index futures contracts at the
Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade. COT data
can be found at www.cftc.gov.

Small specs are the general trading public with commercials being
financial institutions. Commercials are historically on the
correct side of future trend changes while small specs tend
to be wrong.

S&P 500

Action in the large S&P 500 futures contracts has been slow.
Commercial traders remain net short but the bearish interest has
been declining for two weeks now.  Small traders' positions are
virtually unchanged.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
05/11/04      401,365   421,672   (20,307)   (2.5%)
05/18/04      394,352   423,258   (28,906)   (3.5%)
05/25/04      400,713   420,764   (20,051)   (2.4%)
06/01/04      406,665   421,681   (15,016)   (1.8%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (111,956) -  3/06/02
Most bullish reading of the year:   23,977  - 12/09/03

Small Traders Long      Short      Net     % of OI
05/11/04      135,534    76,987    58,547    27.5%
05/18/04      139,647    74,597    65,050    30.4%
05/25/04      136,086    79,060    57,026    26.5%
06/01/04      137,100    79,583    57,517    26.5%

Most bearish reading of the year:  (1,657)- 5/27/03
Most bullish reading of the year: 114,510 - 3/26/02


E-MINI S&P 500

Wow!  Commercial traders are completely undecided with a
dead heat between longs and shorts.  Meanwhile small traders
have turned bullish.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
05/11/04      378,696   362,887     15,809     2.1%
05/18/04      390,484   357,157     33,327     4.5%
05/25/04      353,722   336,406     17,316     2.5%
06/01/04      325,865   325,274        591     0.0%

Most bearish reading of the year: (354,835)  - 06/17/03
Most bullish reading of the year:  133,299   - 09/02/03

Small Traders Long      Short      Net     % of OI
05/11/04      101,199     94,408     6,791     3.5%
05/18/04       62,216     87,269    25,053    16.8%
05/25/04       91,515    100,759   ( 9,244)  ( 4.8%)
06/01/04      111,484     90,625    20,859    10.3%

Most bearish reading of the year: (77,385)  - 09/02/03
Most bullish reading of the year: 449,310   - 06/10/03


NASDAQ-100

Commercial traders have hit new bullish extremes we've not
seen in many months.  Right on track small traders have hit
bearish extremes.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
05/04/04       56,931     35,209    21,722   23.6%
05/18/04       58,376     37,528    20,848   21.8%
05/25/04       59,891     37,630    22,261   22.8%
06/01/04       59,944     34,784    25,160   26.6%

Most bearish reading of the year: (21,858)  - 08/26/03
Most bullish reading of the year:  25,160   - 06/01/04

Small Traders  Long     Short      Net     % of OI
05/11/04        9,716    21,072   (11,356)  (36.9%)
05/18/04        9,843    18,935   ( 9,092)  (31.6%)
05/25/04       10,184    20,653   (10,469)  (33.9%)
06/01/04        9,755    30,025   (20,270)  (51.0%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (20,270) - 06/01/04
Most bullish reading of the year:  19,088  - 01/21/02

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL

Not much action going on here with the commercial traders.
They remain slightly bearish on the Dow.  Small traders are
growing more bullish.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
05/11/04       22,614    21,507    1,107       2.5%
05/18/04       22,257    22,444   (  187)     (0.4%)
05/25/04       23,578    24,632   (1,045)     (2.2%)
06/01/04       23,397    24,393   (  996)     (2.0%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (8,322) -  1/16/01
Most bullish reading of the year: 15,135  - 10/16/01

Small Traders  Long      Short     Net     % of OI
05/11/04        7,009     7,640   (  631)   ( 4.3%)
05/18/04        9,098     6,591    2,507     16.0%
05/25/04        9,623     6,614    3,009     18.5%
06/01/04        9,000     6,021    2,979     19.8%

Most bearish reading of the year: (12,106) -  3/09/04
Most bullish reading of the year:   8,523  -  8/26/03

-----------------------------------------------------------------


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The Option Investor Newsletter                  Tuesday 06-08-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                        2 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section Two:

Dropped Calls: None
Dropped Puts: GS
Call Play Updates: AET, AIG, BA, BCR, DGX, ERTS, JNJ, MERQ, QCOM,
    ZMH
New Calls Plays: HSY
Put Play Updates: KSS
New Put Plays: (See Note)


****************
PICKS WE DROPPED
****************

When we drop a pick it doesn't mean we are recommending a sell
on that play. Many dropped picks go on to be very profitable.
We drop a pick because something happened to change its
profile. News, price, direction, etc. We drop it because we
don't want anyone else starting a new play at that time.
We have hundreds of new readers with each issue who are
unfamiliar with the previous history for that pick and we
want them to look at any current pick as a valid play.


CALLS:
*****

None


PUTS:
*****

Goldman Sachs Grp. - GS - close: 94.00 change: +0.42 stop: 94.50

Well, that didn't take long!  Fortunately the process didn't hurt
either, as we never had an opportunity to enter our bearish play
on GS.  Despite ending last Thursday just above a key breakdown
at the $90 level, the stock held above that support on Friday and
then soared higher yesterday, aided by the broad market advance.
With that rally continuing today, we're going to pull the plug on
this play candidate even before our stop is reached.  The
breakdown we were expecting now seems very unlikely to occur.

Picked on June 3rd at         $90.55
Change since picked:           +3.45
Earnings Date                3/23/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      3.75 mln
Chart =



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option* and futures traders. The combination of the proven Man
Financial global presence and the convenience of one group for
all trading needs provide customers with the tools needed for
success.

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********************
PLAY UPDATES - CALLS
********************

Aetna Inc - AET - close: 86.33 change: +0.47 stop: 85.00*new*

We have more good news to report on AET but first we want to
remind readers that AET has already achieved our initial target
of $85.00.  Now the stock is up more than $5 from our picked
price.  It's okay to begin taking some money off the table if you
have not done so already.  It's also okay to close the play
completely or just ratchet up your stop very tight.  Right now
we're aiming for our secondary target of $88.00, which proved to
be resistance in mid-March.  Tuesday's market action saw some
profit taking in both insurance and healthcare stocks.  The good
news here is that AET out performed its peers with another small
gain and new relative high.  Traders bought the early morning dip
to $85.00 and the slow grind higher was on.  The recent two-day
ramp up also happens to be a breakout of AET's descending
trendline of resistance if you connect the tops from April and
extend the ray forward through June.  More aggressive traders
willing to give AET time to move forward might want to leave
their stop near $82.50.  We're going to tighten ours to protect a
large chunk of the recent rally so we're putting the stop loss at
$85.00 (normally we'd pick $84.99).  Today's low happened to be
$85.01.

Picked on May 30 at $ 81.20
Change since picked: + 5.13
Earnings Date      04/29/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:   1.5 million
Chart =


---

American Int'l Grp. - AIG - cls: 74.12 chng: -0.68 stp: 71.50

We've been wondering when our AIG play was going to stop for a
rest.  It hasn't been moving up swiftly, but has been making
steady upward progress for nearly 2 weeks without much
consolidation, so today's light-volume pullback is welcomed as
necessary and healthy.  The fact that the $75 level provided
resistance yesterday and held today suggests it is going to take
more conviction from the bulls to challenge the $77-78 area.
Dips near the 50-dma ($72.70) look like viable pullback entry
points, with strong support just below at $72 and further
reinforced by the 20-dma ($71.78) and 30-dma ($71.65).  AIG still
does not look attractive for momentum entries above resistance,
so we'll continue to focus on buying the pullbacks to support.
Maintain stops at $71.50.

Picked on May 25th at        $72.00
Change since picked:          +2.12
Earnings Date               4/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     5.31 mln
Chart =


---

The Boeing Company - BA - cls: 48.09 chng: -0.04 stop: 46.00*new*

Taking advantage of the broad market strength on Monday,
investors drove shares of BA to a new 2-year high and the stock
held most of those gains into the close.  After a brief dip this
morning, the stock resumed its ascent, pushing back overt the $48
level and it looks destined to make a run at our $50 target in
the near future.  Adding to the bullish tone, buying volume has
been strong this week, indicating that there is conviction behind
the move.  With our $50 target drawing near, it is time to start
getting more aggressive with our stop, maintaining a 1:1 risk to
reward ratio from here to our goal.  If this run is going to
continue, the stock should find initial support near the bottom
of yesterday's gap ($46.90), reinforced by the rising 10-dma
($46.44).  We'll raise our stop to $46 this evening.  A dip and
rebound from above the 10-dma can be used for aggressive
continuation entries.  As our $50 target level is approached,
we're suggesting a proactive exit to lock in gains.

Picked on May 27th at        $46.20
Change since picked:          +1.89
Earnings Date               4/28/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     2.87 mln
Chart =


---

Bard C R - BCR - close: 57.07 chg: -0.14 stop: 54.95

We were starting to worry this morning with the weakness in BCR.
The stock was headed toward minor support at $56 and when it
broke through the simple 10-dma we thought for sure it would test
stronger support at $55.  The good news here is that BCR bounced
strongly in the afternoon and closed back above $57.  The recent
action in the last four or five days is starting to look like a
bull flag consolidation pattern.  We are hesitant to recommend
new positions but another bounce from $56.00-55.50 might be a
good entry or a move up through $58.00.

Picked on May 20 at $ 55.00 (post split)
Change since picked: + 2.07
Earnings Date      04/20/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:   386 thousand
Chart =


---

Quest Diagnostic - DGX - cls: 88.00 chg: -0.30 stop: 83.95

DGX dipped just as expected.  On Sunday we listed a dip to
$86.50-87.50 as an area to look for a bounce to buy the dip.
Traders did buy the dip at $87.52 today but we now suspect that
DGX may have a little bit more profit taking yet to go.  Its 10-
dma is at $87.00 and that might be the technical level shares
need to hit.  DGX's short-term technicals like the RSI and
stochastics are dipping lower from overbought status and should
make bulls cautious about initiating new positions.  In the news
DGX said their president would present tomorrow at the Goldman
Sachs 25th Annual Global Healthcare Conference in that afternoon.
Sometimes these conferences are an opportunity to unveil new
products, plans, earnings forecasts, etc and maybe juice the
stock price.

Picked on June 01 at $ 87.70
Change since picked:  + 0.30
Earnings Date       04/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:    603 thousand
Chart =


---

Electronic Arts - ERTS - cls: 52.96 chng: +0.30 stop: 50.00*new*

It took an amazing amount of patience to stick with our ERTS play
until the bulls gained some traction, but that patience has been
rewarded this week.  Yesterday's rally finally pushed the stock
through the $52 level on a closing basis and today's action is
doubly encouraging.  Although only tacking on an additional 30
cents, ERTS printed $53.00 exactly and that gives us our much-
anticipated PnF Buy signal, along with an upside target of $64.
Our initial target was only for a move into the $55-56 area, but
with the technicals turning more bullish, we might just get a
breakout to new highs.  A mild pullback near the 50-dma ($51.56)
can be used for new entries, and there should now be strong
support between $50.50 (supported by both the 20-dma and 30-dma)
and $51.00.  Stops should now be raised to $50.

Picked on May 18th at        $49.60
Change since picked:          +3.36
Earnings Date               4/29/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     3.89 mln
Chart =


---

Johnson & Johnson - JNJ - cls: 56.97 chng: +0.25 stop: 54.90*new*

Slow and steady, our JNJ play just keeps gaining ground at a
measured pace.  The stock closed at a new recent high yesterday
and then broke out over $57 today, before pulling back at the
close.  At its inception, we expected JNJ to be a slow-mover and
it hasn't disappointed.  It's hard to find fault with the
persistent upward trend and we're still expecting this rally to
continue up towards the $60 level.  That said, it would be naive
to not prepare for solid resistance to be found at the $58 level.
Conservative traders may want to consider booking some gains the
first time that level is reached and then possibly look for a
secondary entry on a pullback near the $56 level before that
final push towards our target.  With both the 20-dma ($55.41) and
30-dma ($55.14) now over $55, it seems reasonable to move our
stop to just below that level of support.  Raise stops to $54.90.

Picked on May 9th at         $55.30
Change since picked:          +1.67
Earnings Date               4/13/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     7.26 mln
Chart =


---

Mercury Inter. - MERQ - cls: 49.04 chng: -0.50 stp: 46.25*new*

Starting off with a bang, our new bullish play on MERQ blasted
higher on Monday, easily clearing near-term resistance near
$48.50 and closing at the high of the day, just under $50
resistance.  With the broad market consolidating its bullish romp
today, it only made sense that MERQ would follow suit, especially
with the $50 resistance not yet broken.  The stock gave us some
healthy consolidation near the top of yesterday's range and if
the broad market can retain its bullish bias, then we can look
for another breakout tomorrow.  Should MERQ pull back to the $48
level, a bounce can be used for new bullish entries, with strong
support offered now by the 200-dma at $47.  Once through the $50
level, next resistance will be found near $52 and conservative
traders will want to consider harvesting gains at that point.
Depending on the strength of the move through resistance,
aggressive traders may be rewarded with a move to test the recent
highs near $54.  We're raising our stop to $46.25 tonight, just
below both the 20-dma ($46.31) as well as last Thursday's $46.59)
low.

Picked on June 6th at        $47.56
Change since picked:          +1.48
Earnings Date               4/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     2.44 mln
Chart =


---

QUALCOMM - QCOM - close: 69.35 chg: +0.67 stop: 66.01*new*

What a difference a couple of days make.  On Friday we were
worried that QCOM was headed back toward the $65 level to test
support.  Now the stock has been inching higher the last two
sessions and hit a new three-year high ($69.54) today.   QCOM is
at a pivotal level.  A breakout over $70 should put shorts on the
run and it would produce a new triple-top breakout buy signal on
its point-and-figure chart.  The $70.00 level was our initial
target so short-term traders can be planning their exits or at
least do a little profit taking of their own.  Our secondary
target is $74 if QCOM can breakout.  We're going to raise our
stop to breakeven at $66.01.  Right now we would not suggest new
positions unless QCOM trades above $70.00 (then a stop loss near
$68 might be appropriate).

Picked on May 24 at $ 66.01
Change since picked: + 3.34
Earnings Date      04/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:   9.6 million
Chart =


---

Zimmer Holdings - ZMH - close: 87.80 chg: +0.05 stop: 84.25*new*

So far so good.  ZMH continues to demonstrate its relative
strength with its narrow rising channel.  All of its technical
indicators are positive although they are at or nearing
overbought levels.  ZMH is within striking distance of our first
target at $90.00 so short-term traders can ready their exits.
ZMH's P&F chart still looks good with the triple-top breakout and
$102 price target.  We're going to raise our stop loss to $84.25.
We hesitate to recommend new positions at current levels.  A
bounce from $86.00 or its 10-dma might be a decent entry point.

Picked on May 27 at $ 85.20
Change since picked: + 2.60
Earnings Date      04/26/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:   1.2 million
Chart =



**************
NEW CALL PLAYS
**************

Hershey Foods - HSY - close: 92.22 chg: +2.42 stop: 89.25

Company Description:
Hershey Foods Corporation is the leading North American
manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery
and chocolate-related grocery products. Some of the company's
most popular products include Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's
Kisses, York, Almond Joy, Mounds, Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers,
Swoops, Hershey's cocoa, and Hershey's syrup. The company also is
a market leader in the gum and mint category, with such well-
known brands as Ice Breakers, Breath Savers, Koolerz, and Bubble
Yum. (source: company press release)

Why We Like It:
Try as we might we cannot find any particular catalyst for
today's bullish breakout in shares of Hershey.  Not that we mind.
We've had our eye on HSY for just such a move.  The stock has
made it to our watch list/radar screen section in the last
several days.  Technically the stock looks pretty strong.  Its
MACD just produced a new buy signal.  Today's rally broke through
six weeks of resistance at the $90.00 mark on almost double the
normal volume.  Now that HSY has broken above $90 the
psychological round-number $100 level is going to act like a
magnet and pull it higher.  That's what we're counting on since
HSY's P&F target is only $93.  Fortunately, it's not uncommon to
see stocks trade past their P&F targets.  We're willing to open
positions at current levels with a stop loss at $89.25 (near its
10-dma) but patient traders might want to look for a dip back
toward $90-91 as an entry point.  However, take note of the fact
that HSY closed near its high for the session and that bodes well
for tomorrow.

Trading note!  Part of the excitement in HSY could be its
upcoming 2-for-1 split scheduled for June 16th.  That's only a
week away.

Suggested Options:
We like the July 90 calls but the 95s should work too.  Remember
that after HSY's 2:1 split on June 16th the strike price will
split as will the option value but you'll have twice as many
contracts.

BUY CALL JUL 90 HSY-GR OI= 300 Last traded @ $3.80
BUY CALL JUL 95 HSY-GS OI=  95 Last traded @ $1.25

Annotated Chart:



Picked on June 08 at $ 92.22
Change since picked:  + 0.00
Earnings Date       04/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:    441 thousand
Chart =



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PLAY UPDATES - PUTS
*******************

Kohl's Corp - KSS - close: 48.60 change: +0.27 stop: 50.01

Uh-oh!  Race officials are waving the yellow flag.  If you're not
a NASCAR fan the yellow flag means there is a hazard on the track
and all drivers should slow down (and stay behind the pace car).
We're waving the yellow flag on KSS because shares are breaking
out to the upside from their recent sideways consolidation.
Furthermore KSS appears to have broken through its descending
trendline of resistance.  This is a BIG concern and we would not
suggest new bearish positions at this time.  More aggressive
traders might want to watch for a failed rally at its 200-dma
just overhead at $49.00 and consider an entry there.  Frankly, if
KSS closes over $49 we'll probably close the play prematurely to
minimize our losses.  We're a little surprised at KSS' strength.
Yesterday the company announced that its general merchandise
manager for its home and footwear business has resigned to become
president and COO of Linens 'n Things (LIN).  Normally when a
company losses key managers it's a bad thing!

Picked on June 06 at $ 47.45
Change since picked:  + 1.15
Earnings Date       05/13/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:    3.7 million
Chart =



*************
NEW PUT PLAYS
*************

We have a great watch list this evening and several of the candidates
look like tempting put plays.


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The Option Investor Newsletter                  Tuesday 06-08-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                        3 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section Three:

Watch List: Something for the Bears and the Bulls
Spreads & Straddles: A Conservative Approach To Option Trading


**********
WATCH LIST
**********

Something for the Bears and the Bulls

___________________________________________________________________

How to use this watch list:
  Readers can use the candidates below as a springboard for their
  own research.  Many are in the process of breaking support or
  resistance or in the process of starting new trends or
  extending old ones.  With your own due diligence these could be
  strong potential plays.
___________________________________________________________________


ONYX Pharmaceuticals - ONXX - close: 38.85 change: -1.83

WHAT TO WATCH: A number of high profile biotech stocks are seeing
a "sell the news" reaction as the companies present at the ASCO
conference in New Orleans.  ONXX has seen its shares drop sharply
in the last few days.  Monday's action was very interesting with
a gap down toward $40.00, an intraday rally to fill the gap, and
then a move back down toward $40 again by the close.  Today's
4.5% decline is a breakdown under support at $40.00 with volume
nearly four times the norm.  Bears might want to target a move to
$35.00 or its 200-dma near $33.00.  It's P&F chart actually
points to $26.00.

Chart=


---

Symantec - SYMC - close: 46.00 change: -0.31

WHAT TO WATCH: Anti-virus software maker SYMC has been
significantly under performing its peers in the GSO software
sector the last few days.  Technicals are mixed with its MACD
trying to turn positive while its RSI and stochastics turn
negative.  The P&F chart on SYMC actually looks pretty bearish
with a double-bottom breakdown from very overbought and a price
target of $39.00.  Coincidentally its simple 200-dma is near
$38.50.  The stock seems to be struggling with overhead
resistance in the form of its 40 and 50-dma's near $47.

Chart=


---

Sunoco Inc - SUN - close: 60.12 change: -1.32

WHAT TO WATCH: We're starting to see signs of weakness in the oil
refiners.  SUN is working on a trend of lower highs and its MACD
indicator is just about ready to produce a new sell signal after
the recent bounce.  Volume on today's 2.14% decline was
significantly above average.  If you look at SUN's P&F chart
you'll notice support at $59.00.  A breakdown under $59.00 would
produce a quintuple-bottom breakdown sell signal.  Consider using
a trigger to open the play.  The $55 level should be the next
level of support followed by the 200-dma near $52.50.

Chart=


---

Countrywide Financial - CFC - close: 66.64 change: -0.81

WHAT TO WATCH: CFC witness a little bit of profit taking today
but that shouldn't be a surprise after yesterday's big breakout
above resistance at $65.00.  The move produced a spread-triple-
top breakout on its P&F chart, which currently points to a $92
price target.  The gap down today may have been boosted by some
less than positive comments out of CFC regarding their May loan
application volume but traders bought the dip at $65.50.  We
would make $70 our initial target but suspect CFC can trade
higher (maybe $75).

Chart=


---

Broadcom - BRCM - close: 43.84 change: +0.40

WHAT TO WATCH: Bulls should take another look at BRCM.  We came
very close to adding the specialty chip builder to our call list
today.  The stock has been consolidating in a sideways channel
between $37 and $44 for the last 4 1/2 months.  Now shares look
poised to breakout over resistance at $44.00.  We would consider
using a trigger above $44.00 and target the $50.00 region.

Chart=


---

Northrop Grumman - NOC - close: 105.13 change: +0.13

WHAT TO WATCH: We mentioned NOC in the MarketMonitor this
afternoon.  The stock has rallied with the DFI defense index and
managed to breakout over resistance at $105.  Investor focus has
been turning back to security stocks again and the recent action
has produced a new ascending triple-top breakout buy signal on
NOC's P&F chart.  NOC does look a little short-term overbought
but traders could use a stop under its 10-dma and target a move
to $110.

Chart=



-----------------------------------
RADAR SCREEN - more stocks to watch
-----------------------------------

BRL $38.80 -2.53 - BRL has been a laggard for months with a
steady trend of lower highs.  Now its weakness has produced a
high volume breakdown below support at $40.00.

OSIP $70.42 -4.78 - Ouch!  Biotech OSIP has fallen sharply over
the last few days but the selling paused at $70 support.
Aggressive traders might want to short a break under $70 or look
for a move under its recent lows near $67.50.

CDWC $70.00 -0.83 - We're watching for a breakout over $71.00.

APOL $97.93 +2.25 - The breakout over $96.00 looks great but the
$100 level could be resistance.  Its P&F chart points to $119.

MO $49.12 -0.02 - We're watching this one for a possible
breakdown under $48.00.

RKY $66.95 +1.21 - Coors appears to have bottomed at its 100-dma
and now shares are pushing through resistance at $66.00 and its
40 and 50-dma's.  Target $70.00.


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*******************
SPREADS & STRADDLES
*******************

The Spreads/Premium-Selling editor is away from the market today,
so we have a great opportunity to discuss some of the most common
approaches to derivatives trading.


Spreads & Combinations: A Conservative Approach To Option Trading

Since we often receive requests for a list of guidelines for new
readers, I decided to review some of the principles of strategy
selection, based on common principles used by successful traders.
While it is impossible to include every idea or methodology that
might be beneficial, understanding these concepts will help any
investor become more profitable on a consistent basis.

By definition, trading is a risky venture but you know there are
people who profit regularly in this business.  What do these
profitable traders have in common?  As a group, they all conform
to the same fundamental plan.  They develop sound and sensible
methods for participating in the market, using strategies that
work best for each particular situation.  They also acquire the
necessary tools for accurate analysis of their candidates and
potential plays, and they construct positions with regard to the
appropriate risk/reward attitude of their financial situation.

There are a number of ways to be successful in the options market.
The primary uses of options are speculating and portfolio hedging.
Both of these practices involve the management of risk, with each
strategy approaching the potential for loss in a different manner.
Fund managers and institutional traders reduce risk by offsetting
a portion of their holdings with option positions.  Many of them
purchase Puts to insure their equity portfolios while others use
option writing strategies, selling both Puts and Calls to improve
returns from their long-term investments.  Speculative strategies
include buying and selling options and in most cases, traders use
these techniques to generate additional leverage in directional
positions.  Ownership of an option can produce large profits when
the underlying instrument moves as expected and on those occasions
when the forecast is incorrect, the loss is limited to the initial
cost of the position.

Another popular approach, spread (or combination) trading, seeks
to produce option positions with less risk than the speculative
strategies.  The majority of spread techniques involve buying and
selling simultaneous but opposing positions in different option
series.  Common spread strategies include Calendar Spreads, Price
(or vertical) spreads, and various combinations of the two.  The
Calendar spread (also known as a horizontal spread) involves the
purchase of an option with one expiration date and the sale of
another option at the same price but a different expiration date.
The philosophy for using calendar spreads is that time will erode
the value of the short term option at a faster rate than it will
the long term option.  Traders who attempt to forecast the future
direction of specific issues generally use price spreads.  These
positions consist of a long (purchased) option and a short (sold)
option, where both options are of the same type (calls or puts)
and expire at the same time.  Vertical spreads are commonly used
by investors who want to use options to take advantage of an
expected market move.  The benefit of this technique is that it
is aptly suited to situations where the underlying issue’s trend
is relatively well established and option pricing concerns are of
secondary importance.  One of the most widely utilized “neutral”
strategies is the Straddle.  Debit straddles involve the purchase
of both call and put options and the position benefits from a
large movement in the underlying issue.  Based on the size and
timeliness of the move, the technique can generate large profits.
In most spread and combination strategies, the returns are far
smaller than those generated by speculative positions in exchange
for reduced risk.

The are two well-known benefits of derivatives.  They can be used
to generate exponential profits on correctly forecast movements
and alter the risk of a portfolio.  A trader who purchases calls
can profit from an increase in the price of the underlying asset,
while the maximum loss from buying the option is limited to the
cost of the option.  The potential gains in this type of position
are limited only by the price change in the underlying instrument.
Since the asset’s price is the most important factor affecting an
option’s value, the success of directional strategies is based on
the appropriate assessment of future market movement.  Technical
and fundamental analyses are typical procedures used to identify
the direction and magnitude of movement in the underlying issue.

Additional considerations with regard to option buying are time
and leverage.  Obviously, the major drawback for options is that
they are a wasting asset; the intrinsic value of the option falls
as the expiration date approaches.  Timing is a critical concern
with derivatives because the initial premium for time value can
be larger than any profit resulting from favorable movements in
the underlying instrument.  In addition, the future potential or
“Implied Volatility” of an option can be difficult to assess and
that particular concept can be overwhelming for novice investors.
The most common result is that a trader will correctly forecast
the movement of the underlying issue but, having paid an excessive
premium for the option, will eventually experience a loss in the
position.  Leverage is also a very important component of option
trading as it allows an investor to achieve substantial profits
with a relatively small cash investment.

The most common failure among new traders is the inability to
assess the suitability of a specific position in terms of its
risk and profitability characteristics, and the basic lack of
theoretical option-pricing knowledge.  In addition, many novice
option traders base their selection of plays on the potential
for return rather than the appropriate position or strategy for
each combination of market direction and volatility.  Retail
option buyers are a great example.  They consistently purchase
options that are "out-of-the-money" with only a short period
remaining before they expire.  They usually avoid theoretical
option-pricing models due to their confidence concerning the
future movement of the underlying issue and their distorted
assumptions about profit potential.  In fact, most investors
partake in the options market without paying much attention to
Fair Value and Implied Volatility.  As a result, they select
overpriced options, and often fail to profit even when they are
correct about the change in the price of the underlying issue.

Options possess characteristics that differ from other financial
instruments.  These unique attributes provide option traders with
advantages unavailable to the majority of market participants.
Although the initial learning curve can be difficult to overcome,
the evidence concerning spread trading suggests that a structured
plan with strategies for limiting losses and maximizing gains can
produce favorable portfolio growth in the long-term.  The majority
of experienced traders utilize spreads to reduce the cost and the
risk of option ownership.  They construct combination plays with
partially offsetting option positions to reduce the potential for
capital loss.  Spreads can also be designed to generate return
diagrams of almost any character.  For the investor who is not
familiar with spread and combination strategies, this type of
approach also offers a great opportunity to learn the basics of
derivatives trading in a low risk environment.  The fundamental
concepts are relatively easy to understand and once established,
most positions can usually be managed with little difficulty.  The
occasional adjustments also provide the necessary background for
more advanced techniques.  Those who enjoy aggressive, directional
trading can construct combination positions to fit their style as
well.  Although the potential for upside profit is reduced, the
limited downside exposure provides a favorable risk/reward ratio
for the majority of investors.

The options market offers a number of tools and techniques that
can help the astute trader construct a powerful portfolio; one
which possesses a high degree of safety with consistent returns.
Through the use of combinations, the trader has a vehicle to
pursue a wide variety of strategies.  The complete option player
can profit with both bullish and bearish plays, in situations
that dictate either aggressive or conservative positions.  With
an understanding of the risk/reward relationships between long
and short options at different prices in varying time periods, he
can benefit from the most advanced techniques available in the
market.

Good Luck!


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Option Investor Inc is neither a registered Investment Advisor nor a Broker/Dealer. Readers are advised that all information is issued solely for informational purposes and is not to be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor is it to be construed as a recommendation to buy, hold or sell (short or otherwise) any security. All opinions, analyses and information included herein are based on sources believed to be reliable and written in good faith, but no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, is made including but not limited to any representation or warranty concerning accuracy, completeness, correctness, timeliness or appropriateness. In addition, we do not necessarily update such opinions, analysis or information. Owners, employees and writers may have long or short positions in the securities that are discussed.

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