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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 08/11/2004

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 08-11-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section One:

Wrap: Out of Steam
Futures Wrap: See Note
Index Trader Wrap: Actions will speak louder than words


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
*******************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
*******************************************************************
     08-11-2004            High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA     9938.32 -  6.35  9954.18  9841.36 1.71 bln   1114/1665
NASDAQ   1782.42 – 26.28  1786.65  1760.50 1.77 bln   1105/1901
S&P 100   526.54 -  2.23   528.77   522.39   Totals   2219/3566
S&P 500  1075.79 -  3.25  1079.04  1065.92
RUS 2000  526.63 -  3.20   529.83   517.89
DJ TRANS 3049.89 +  5.02  3074.94  3006.37
VIX        18.04 +  0.57    18.49    17.84
VXO        17.53 +  0.63    18.50    17.30
VXN        29.96 +  0.44    27.70    26.80
Total Volume 3,848M
Total UpVol    972M
Total DnVol  2,825M
52wk Highs      35
52wk Lows      433
TRIN          1.30
PUT/CALL      0.89
*******************************************************************

Out of Steam
Linda Piazza

A post-Fed-decision rally carried the Nikkei and some other Asian
bourses to another day of gains, but then lost steam by the time
European markets opened. U.S. futures turned down with cash
markets following, but then the decline ran out of steam, too.

Bears could not follow through on early declines, and either
aggressive bulls or scared shorts pushed the indices higher
again.  By the day's end, the Dow had closed down only 6.35
points or 0.06 percent, and the SPX had closed down only 3.25
points or 0.30 percent.  Even the Russell 2000 managed to hold
onto all but 3.20 points, declining 0.60 percent.  The Nasdaq did
not fare so well, seeing a decline of 26.28 points or 1.45
percent.  Volume patterns showed decliners ahead of advancers on
both exchanges, with adv:dec ratios at 14:18 for the NYSE and
11:19 for the Nasdaq.  Down volume was 1.8 times up volume on the
NYSE and almost four times up volume on the Nasdaq.  Total volume
stood at 1.4 billion for the NYSE and 1.8 billion for the Nasdaq.

Cisco's (CSCO) building inventories as well as sales warnings
from National Semiconductor (NSM) and chip-related company
Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC) proved at least partly responsible for
early weakness, sending U.S. futures lower immediately after the
close Tuesday.  Futures failed to build steam when the Nikkei
gained and then dropped with the European markets, predicting
weakness at the U.S. open.  By Wednesday morning, CSCO's Tuesday-
night earnings report had garnered analyst attention from Merrill
Lynch, UBS, Wachovia Securities and Goldman Sachs, with opinions
mixed among the analysts.  Merrill Lynch and UBS both downgraded
CSCO to a neutral rating, but the other two made positive
comments.

Within the first five minutes of trading, the SOX dropped below
the 50% retracement of its rally off the October 2002 low, also
breaking down from its descending regression channel, ominous
signs for those with hopes for a recovery in the sector.

Annotated Daily Chart of the SOX:



NSM and KLIC closed 14.14 and 25.07 percent lower, respectively,
with other stocks in the semiconductor food chain also getting
hit.  Cypress Semiconductor (CY) fell 6.56 percent, with its
decline attributed to NSM's.  CY wasn't helped by a Smith Barney
decision to cut its rating to a hold rating from its former buy
rating, either. Teradyne (TER) closed 7.59 percent lower, with
its tumble attributed both to KLIC and CSCO weakness.  CSFB cut
TER's rating to a neutral rating from its previous outperform
one.

Yesterday's attempt at a morning-star reversal signal on the SOX
was less convincing than the signals produced by some other
indices, raising a red flag that I mentioned Tuesday on OIN's
Market Monitor.  The SOX could not retrace more than 50 percent
of Friday's decline while most other indices producing morning-
star patterns retraced most or all of Friday's gains.

Wednesday morning, the SOX's relative weakness became apparent
when the SOX fell below recent lows and also dropped beneath the
50 percent retracement of the rally off the October 2002 low.
That retracement level usually provides strong support when first
tested even if it's eventually violated, but the SOX spent only
three days steadying at that level before tumbling through it.
That's an ominous sign unless it's quickly reversed, but
investors showed no temptation Wednesday to buy the dip.

The NWX, the Networking Index, showed the effect of the CSCO
report, reversing lower after printing a morning-star pattern of
its own.  CSCO closed lower by 10.55 percent.  Wednesday
continued the Pacific Crest Technology Forum that opened on
Monday, and began the CIBC Enterprise Software and Soundview
Semiconductor Conferences, but instead of the tech pop that used
to be produced by tech conferences, these and other tech-related
indices declined.

Other sectors or indices faring badly included the Disk Drive
Index and the XAU, the gold and silver index, down 1.80 percent.
Sectors closing higher included the airlines and defensive
sectors such as the pharmaceuticals and health care providers.
Surprisingly on a day when crude futures closed slightly higher,
so did the TRAN, up 0.16 percent.

Annotated Daily Chart of the TRAN:



That high-wave doji can be a reversal signal, too, but it's
always a visual representation of the indecision felt by market
participants.  Both bulls and bears ran out of steam on this
index today, as they did in other markets.  The story behind the
TRAN's high-wave doji proved an interesting one.

Each week, Wednesday's reports on crude oil, distillate, and
gasoline inventories assume more importance, but Wednesday, the
figures slipped by almost unnoticed.  Other crude-related
developments grabbed the attention.  Early in the morning, market
watchers learned that Russian oil producer Yukos was officially
in default on $1.6 billion in debt, having received a default
notice from a lender.  The president of Russia's federal energy
agency did nothing to reassure jittery markets when he stated
that Yukos' production could be halted if the company could not
pay for equipment and operations.  He further commented that such
an event would be detrimental to Russia's economic health, with
Russian energy officials asking that the company be allowed
access to frozen bank accounts.

Soon after or perhaps at about the same time, Saudi Arabia
revealed that it would have an important announcement about oil
production.  That announcement, when it came, included the
assurance that Saudi Arabia could immediately raise oil output by
1.3 million barrels per day, with the intention of curbing
prices.

Crude prices had plummeted at the time that Saudi Arabia stated
that it would make an announcement, with most market watchers
correctly assuming that Saudi Arabia would make an announcement
meant to calm worries and dampen crude prices.  Crude futures
dropped despite the almost-not-noticed Department of Energy
release of figures showing that crude stocks were down 4.3
million barrels from the previous week and an API release showing
that crude stocks were down 5.2 million barrels.  Analysts had
expected a rise in crude inventories, and the surprise decline
was not good news.  The Energy Department also announced that
distillate stocks were up 1.3 million barrels, and gasoline
stocks were down 1.8 million barrels.  API reported distillate
stocks higher by 3.1 million barrels, and gasoline stocks down by
2.4 million barrels.

The International Energy Agency, the IEA, also increased its
forecast for 2004's demand for crude by 700,000 barrels.  The IEA
also mentioned the less-than-desired capacity in infrastructure
and production, but felt that those lacks did not justify the
current crude prices, prices that were causing economic damage.
Borrowing a phrase from Greenspan, the IEA called the
$45.00/barrel price "irrational exuberance."  Later in the day,
others derided the IEA's statement about irrational exuberance,
claiming that the IEA routinely underestimated demand.  That
underestimation might even have led OPEC to cut production
earlier in the year, leading to the current pricing problems, one
commentator claimed.

Whether or not the IEA is right about the $45.00/barrel price
being too high, the forecasted increased demand, coupled with the
inventory surprise and Yukos news, might have sent crude prices
soaring, but the Saudi announcement undercut that reaction, at
least for a time.  Crude prices closed minimally higher than
Tuesday's close, but did not reach above Tuesday's intraday high.

Another report barely noticed except by those privy to Jim
Brown's comments in OIN's Market Monitor was the Job Opening
Labor Turnover Survey, released at 10:00.  Data included in that
survey showed that June's growth in employment was still showing
improvement, but improvement at a slower rate than previously.
Job openings fell, but more workers were hired than separated
from their jobs, which would include workers who were quit or
retired, or who were fired or laid off.

At 2:00, July's Monthly Budget Statement was released, with
June's having been a $54.2 billion deficit and July's showing a
whopping $69.2 billion deficit.  The year-to-date budget deficit
stands at $395.8 billion.  Expectations had been for a $66
billion figure for July.  Perhaps because the surprise was
attributed to greater outlays than expected and that was
attributed to calendar distortions, no ill effect occurred.  Many
markets began the late-afternoon climb immediately afterward
during the program-trading window.

That bounce helped improve the Nasdaq's outlook.  While the SOX
and NWX reversed just-produced morning-star reversal signals, the
Nasdaq bounced after breaking down intraday.

Annotated Daily Chart of the Nasdaq:



The Nasdaq has already broken below its descending regression
channel, gapping down as it did so.  It produced a not-so-classic
morning-star reversal signal, but as sometimes happens in down-
trending markets, the only reversal was the candle needed to
produce the reversal signal.  Wednesday, the Nasdaq opened near
the bottom of the recent range, broke below that range, but
tested the 38.2 percent retracement of the rally off the October
2002 low when it did so.  It bounced, closing back within that
range.

The SOX's example suggests that the Nasdaq could also eventually
break below this important retracement level, with the SOX
already below the 50 percent retracement, but if the SOX manages
a bounce to retest broken support, the Nasdaq could bounce, too.
If the trend is down, it's best to assume that it will remain
down, so the assumption now is that any bounce would roll over at
resistance, with that Nasdaq resistance now from 1806-1820, the
gap from Friday and the bottom of the former descending
regression channel.

If the Nasdaq's chart displays some ambiguity, so do the charts
of the SPX, Dow, and Russell 2000.

Annotated Daily Chart of the SPX:



Annotated Daily Chart of the Dow:



Annotated Daily Chart of the Russell 2000:



The OEX chart shows similar characteristics, forming a possible
"b" distribution pattern or basing pattern prior to a rise from
the bottom of its descending regression channel.

If the SOX still leads, it's leading these other indices to a
breakdown out of those descending regression channels.  However,
the TRAN's action, with that index valiantly clinging to its
descending regression channel support despite rising crude
prices, suggests that the TRAN may be trying to assume a
leadership role, too.  Both should be watched.

After hours, the SMH, KLIC, and CSCO all added a few cents to
their closing values, with futures climbing slightly, too, but
not enough to provide much encouragement to bulls.  Fox
Entertainment (FOX), News Corp (NWS), Cyberonics (CYBX), and Bob
Evans Farms (BOBE) were among companies reporting after the
close.  FOX climbed on a better-than-expected result, NWS was
flat, CYBX first posted a strong gain and then erased that gain
after reporting earnings in line with analysts' expectations but
ahead of its own, and BOBE tumbled after missing.  Higher costs
impact all kinds of companies, and BOBE mentioned rising hog
prices.

After last week's disastrous non-farm payrolls number, more
attention than ever may focus on the initial jobless claims
number at 8:30 tomorrow.  Last week's number indicated claims at
336 thousand.  Other 8:30 releases include July's Import Price
Index, with June's showing a drop of 0.2 percent, July's Advance
Retail Sales, with June's showing a drop of 1.1 percent and ex-
auto July Retail Sales, with June's showing a drop of 0.2
percent. I heard several commentators mention the retail sales
figures, with some commenting that various indicators of consumer
sentiment and spending patterns had been trending down lately.

Thursday, the CIBC Enterprise Software and Soundview
Semiconductor Conferences continue, but DELL's Thursday-after-
the-close earnings statement will also affect the performance of
techs both before and after the earnings release.  It would not
be surprising to see the SOX climb to retest broken support as
shorts rush to cover ahead of Dell's report, with that broken
support from 380-386.  For first indications that markets could
be strengthening enough for a countertrend bounce, watch to see
if the SOX and TRAN can both pick up steam to the upside or if
crude prices instead pick up steam, sending the others lower.

With the SPX, OEX, Dow, and Russell 2000, the task for those
seeking to gauge market direction proves easy:  watching for
either upside or downside breaks out of the possible "b"
distribution patterns, and remaining cautious about trading the
chop within them.  With a downtrend firmly in place, all bounces
should perhaps still be considered countertrend moves and sell-
the-rallies should remain the favored tactic.  Be ready to jump
out if proven wrong, however.


***************
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 WRAP
*****************

Actions will speak louder than words

Word from Saudi officials that they were willing and able to
boost oil production had the major indices lifting from their
early morning lows, but oil traders staged an intra-day rally of
their own, with neck braces strapped tight, as September Crude
Oil futures (cl04u) $44.80 settled higher near the $45.00 level
after having traded as low as $43.30.

Oil traders don't know who to believe.  Saudi officials say oils
rise is being fueled by hedge fund speculators, and not
necessarily global demand.  Saudi officials have also said they
could, then couldn't increase daily production levels.

When media outlets first began reporting that "OPEC will make a
major announcement later this morning," equities firmed almost
immediately as investor sentiment seemed to level from some very
bearish opening session indications.

While most technology-related sectors were getting dismantled,
the "oil had nothing to do with them" Biotechnology Index (BTK.X)
464.22 +1.99% was the first tech-based sector to turn green.

U.S. Market Watch -08/11/04 Close



Both the Semiconductor Index (SOX.X) 372.67 -5.16% and Disk Drive
Index (DDX.X) 88.52 -3.11% traded 52-week lows in today's
session, and while Dorsey/Wright and Associates has not yet fully
tabulated today's trade, their Semiconductor Bullish % (BPSEMI)
may be pressed to hold onto yesterday's closing reading of 4.97%,
meaning that of the universe of semiconductor-related point and
figure charts they follow, roughly 5% of those point and figure
charts would still have a buy signal associated with their chart.

Today's "big surprise" was the S&P Banks Index (BIX.X) 349.07
+0.74% not only trading and closing above its WEEKLY R1 in our
pivot matrix, but slicing back above its 50-day SMA (347.80) and
21-day SMA (348.17).  Helping the more regional banking index was
the Mortgage Bankers Association saying the Refinancing Index
rose 2.5% for the week ended August 6, and ending 4 week's of
declines, as the average contract interest rate for a 30-year
fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 5.8% from 5.97%, and lowest 30-
year mortgage rate since the week ended April 9.  The more
encompassing Mortgage Application Index fell 0.7% to 616.10, with
the Purchases Index falling 2.7% to 440.0.

Market Snapshot / Internals - 08/11/04 Close



One can never say for certain, but there was enough "bad news"
among technology to bog down a Cisco router at the open, and
reports that "OPEC is going to make a major announcement" may
have brought in some bears to lock in gains.  Once it started it
didn't stop as A/D lines at both the NYSE and NASDAQ showed some
improvement, but still ended the day weak.

Today's 257 new lows at the NASDAQ rival this year's 259 from
July 26, when the very broad NASDAQ Composite (COMPX) 1,782.42
-1.45% closed at 1,839.02.  In essence, a lot of NASDAQ "troops"
were removed from the battlefield, and very few "generals," just
15, were able to raise their swords at the end of the day.

Pivot Analysis Matrix -



Hmmm.... strength for tech?  I can't think of any sector at this
point, so the WEAKEST and the MOST OVERSOLD Semiconductor Index
(SOX.X) 372.67 -5.16% will have to do, where a start would be
something above correlative DAILY R1 and MONTHLY S1.  The SOX.X
was in "free fall" mode in the opening minutes, and while there
were "ticks" at 392.51 in the opening minute of trade, the intra-
day chart in the first 5 minutes looks more like a Jack and Jill
tumbling down the hill, so I'm using this afternoon's high as
today's high.

With the BIX.X closing just back above its MONTHLY Pivot and
being first equity-based index to trade WEEKLY R1, a sign of any
follow through strength for the majors would be an OEX move above
correlative DAILY R1 and WEEKLY Pivot, while tomorrow's DAILY R2
and 530 would tie to relative low closes for the OEX in May and
mid-July, when broken on August 6, Tuesday of last week, found
the OEX trading its most recent lows of 521.83 that same day.

Note the INDU, SPX, OEX and BIX.X were the equity-based indices
that didn't violate Tuesday's lows.

Jeff Bailey


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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 08-11-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section Two:

Watch List: A Big Watch List Tonight
Stop Loss Updates: AZO, CAT
Dropped Calls: IMO
Dropped Puts: CI


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

A Big Watch List Tonight

___________________________________________________________________

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.
___________________________________________________________________


Par Pharmaceutical Co - PRX - close: 39.68 change: +0.56

WHAT TO WATCH: Two weeks ago PRX soared higher and broke out
above its trend of lower highs as well as technical resistance at
the 40 and 50-dma's.  Now after two weeks of consolidating
sideways between $37 and $40 the stock looks poised to breakout
above resistance at the $40 level.  Readers can watch PRX for a
move over $40.25, which was today's high.  The hurdles to watch
for next are the June highs near $43 and the simple 100-dma near
$41.50.

Chart=


---

Patterson Companies - PDCO - close: 75.76 change: +1.11

WHAT TO WATCH: PDCO was able to hold on to its gains today after
some recent profit taking.  The stock has been consolidating
under a trend of lower highs since April.  Now the stock is
challenging this descending trendline of resistance.  Readers
might want to consider bullish positions on a breakout over
$77.00.  The P&F chart is bullish and points to a $91 target.

Chart=


---

Aventis - AVE - close: 80.68 change: -0.09

WHAT TO WATCH: We mentioned French-based AVE in the MarketMonitor
today.  The drug stock has been climbing steadily the past couple
of weeks and near the top of its 6 1/2 month trading range.
Bulls can watch it for a breakout over the $81.50 level.
Meanwhile bears can watch for another drop under $80.00 and
target the bottom of the trading range.  AVE does have options
but volume is low as is volume on the stock.

Chart=


---

Linear Technology - LLTC - close: 36.27 change: -0.99

WHAT TO WATCH: Chip stock LLTC held up pretty well on Wednesday.
The stock only lost 2.65% compared to the 5% in the SOX index.
LLTC rebounded sharply from its lows of the day, which were near
the bottom of its five-month trading range.  The SOX is so
oversold that it could bounce soon and traders might consider
trading LLTC back toward the top of the range near $39.

Chart=


---

Yahoo! Inc. - YHOO - close: 27.45 change: +0.30

WHAT TO WATCH: If you think the recent bounce has any legs to it
check out YHOO.  The stock out performed the INX Internet index's
2% drop today.  Furthermore YHOO's gain today looks like a decent
follow through on yesterday's bounce from support at the simple
and exponential 200-dma's and the $25.00 mark.  There is some
resistance at $27.50-27.85 but beyond that it should be clear for
a run toward the simple 40 and 50-dma's.  However, bulls should
be careful.  YHOO's P&F chart is very bearish and points to a
$20.00 target.  Bears are probably looking for a bounce to short
it.

Chart=



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

AT $52.61 +0.25 - We're still watching AT for a breakout over
$53.00-53.50.

QCOM $68.52 -1.16 - QCOM seems to be creeping closer to a bearish
breakout under its simple 100-dma.

DISH 29.92 +0.37 - The bounce in DISH continues and shares have
broken their trend of lower highs.  Now it needs to breakout over
the $30.00 level.

BRL $38.23 +0.51 - BRL has broken out of its trading range and
appears to have put in a bottom.  Next stop should be $40.00.

CECO $30.79 +1.77 - Is CECO finally producing an oversold bounce?
The move over $30.00 looks positive but shares have tons of
overhead resistance.

HSIC $62.79 +0.76 - HSIC is bouncing from the bottom of its new
rising channel.  Bulls might consider speculative positions and
target a move to the top of the channel near its simple 200-dma
at $68.


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

AZO - put play -
 AZO held up very well and produced its second day in
 a row above the $75.00 level.  We continue to be VERY
 cautious and do not suggest new bearish positions until
 AZO trades back under the $74.00 level.  We came very
 close to being stopped out as AZO traded to $76.49 intraday.

---

CAT - put play -
 CAT continues to rise and its technicals are turning positive.
 The close over $72.00 is bad news for our bearish position.
 Readers may want to exit here and cut their losses.  Our
 current stop is at $73.25.


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

Imperial Oil - IMO - close: 46.60 change: -0.30 stop: 46.75

The sell-off continues in the oil stocks in spite of heavy
volatility in the crude contracts and new highs.  IMO has broken
down through the $47 and $48 levels as well as the simple 40 and
50-dma's.  We have been stopped out at $46.75 as we predicted
yesterday.  Shares actually gapped lower at $46.70.

Picked on August 1st at $49.49
Change since picked:    - 2.89
Earnings Date         07/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      55 thousand
Chart =



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

Cigna Corp - CI - close: 62.70 change: +0.37 stop: 62.51

The oversold bounce continues for CI and the stock has closed
above the $62.50 level.  We were actually stopped out shortly
after the opening bell when CI hit $62.51.  Technicals have
turned positive for CI and its MACD has produced a new "buy"
signal but the stock needs to push past resistance at the $64.00
mark and then again at the $65 level to make any serious gains.

Picked on August 6th at $59.59
Change since picked:    + 3.11
Earnings Date         08/04/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     985 thousand
Chart =



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experienced service for both securities* and futures trading
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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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*******************
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*******************

If you like the results you have been receiving we
would welcome you as a permanent subscriber.

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price is $129.95 which is $20 off the monthly rate.

We would like to have you as a subscriber. You may
subscribe at any time but your subscription will not
start until your free trial is over.

To subscribe you may go to our website at

www.OptionInvestor.com

and click on "subscribe" to use our secure credit
card server or you may simply send an email to

 "Contact Support"

with your credit card information,(number, exp date, name)
or you may call us at 303-797-0200 and give us the
information over the phone.

You may also fax the information to: 303-797-1333


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

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DISCLAIMER

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.

Readers are urged to consult with their own independent financial advisors with respect to any investment. All information contained in this report and website should be independently verified.

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Option Investor Inc
PO Box 630350
Littleton, CO 80163

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