Option Investor

Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 11/11/2004

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Thursday 11-11-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                       1 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

In Section One:

Wrap: 1175, The End or The Beginning
Futures Wrap: See Note
Index Wrap: Cyclical bear suffers another blow 
Market Sentiment: Post-election Euphoria 

Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
      11-11-2004           High     Low     Volume   Adv/Dcl
DJIA    10469.84 + 84.40 10486.65 10386.95 1.73 bln 2352/ 870
NASDAQ   2061.27 + 26.70  2061.40  2039.74 1.80 bln 2036/1091
S&P 100   560.18 +  4.64   561.02   555.54   Totals 4388/1961
S&P 500  1173.48 + 10.57  1174.82  1162.91 
W5000   11504.42 +105.38 11511.71 11399.04
SOX       414.26 +  8.50   415.08   405.76
RUS 2000  616.30 +  6.69   616.30   609.29
DJ TRANS 3623.30 + 48.90  3627.42  3572.59
VIX        13.04 -  0.04    13.12    12.64
VXO (VIX-O)13.32 -  0.31    13.65    12.80
VXN        18.92 -  0.49    19.45    18.61 
Total Volume 3,825M
Total UpVol  2,838M
Total DnVol    958M
Total Adv  4970
Total Dcl  2264
52wk Highs  640
52wk Lows    65
TRIN       0.91
NAZTRIN    0.52
PUT/CALL   0.74

1175, The End or The Beginning
by Jim Brown

The markets finally broke out of their range and moved
higher despite the lack of economic reports and the bond
market being closed. The Dow inched up into very strong
resistance over 10450, the Nasdaq sprinted over 2050 but
the SPX came to a dead stop at 1175. This is very strong
resistance and was the high for late 2001 and all of 2002.
Is it the end of the rally or just the beginning?

Not much happened in the news world on Thursday with 
the government closed for Veterans Day but while nobody
was watching a stealth rally broke out. Oil prices fell
again after a Nigerian court ruled there could not be
an indefinite general strike against oil companies. 
This knocked oil back down to the low for the day at
$47.05 with only a minor rebound to close at $47.42 
and -1.42 for the day. Stocks celebrated and gains 
were seen across the board. I do not expect this 
decline to continue and believe it is the result of 
election risk premium being removed from oil. I also
believe funds are shifting dollars from oil investments
they made over the summer when the equity markets were
weak. The 100-day average on crude is $45 and that 
could be the bottom for this cycle.
Crude Oil Chart


Money continues to pour into the markets with $7.4B
in inflows over the first seven trading days of November.
This +$1.1B per day of inflows plus the asset allocation
out of oil pushed the indexes past resistance today
and we may not be done. 

The Dow had been stalled at 10430 with every attempt
to move over 10400 promptly slapped back down to rising
support. That support had been slowly rising since the
first attempt back on the 5th. Each day was a slightly
higher low but still locked in the sub 10430 range. 
That range broke today with a breakout to 10486 and
a hold at the close very near the highs for the day. 
The 10485 level is critical and will be the focal point
for the Dow on Friday. This is the June high and a break
above this level will be a double confirmation of the
broken downtrend and sequence of lower highs dating
back to February. The first material lower high was
the September high at 10363 and we saw a week long 
pause over the last week when that level was broken.
Just getting over 10485 is only going to be the start
of a major resistance battle. The 10450-10550 range
was the resistance highs from April-June and those
highs may not willingly step aside as the bulls 
wander through. 

Dow Chart


The Nasdaq finally broke a major barrier today with 
the fall of 2050 and the June highs. 2075-2090 is the
next major battle as the Feb-Apr highs. The Nasdaq
finally broke out of its trading range of 2035-2050
without any help by the SOX. This is an amazing show
of strength and should the SOX decide to join the
party we could have a blowout. The SOX did tack on
+8.50 points but only made it back into the middle of
its congestion range that has held for the last three
weeks. Chip stocks are continually getting downgraded
and even the bargain hunters are avoiding the sector.
Until the SOX moves over 420 with conviction the Nasdaq
will be stuck dragging the SOX anchor on any future
climb. The Nasdaq stepping-stones from here are 2075,
2095 and 2150 with a break over 2150 setting a new high
for the year and a high that dates back to June-2001.

Nasdaq Chart


SOX Chart


The hero for the day was still the Russell. It did 
not post the strongest gain of the indexes but the
Russell did breakout to a new all time high at 616.30.
It was a banner day and there was no weakness on the
way. Just a nice slow ramp from the open into the
close and it closed only .29 from the high of the 
day. This is strong confirmation that mutual funds
are putting new money to work in the market. The
Russell is the index of hope and where funds perceive
they can get the best bang for the buck. In times of
market stress funds will put money into highly liquid
big caps so they can exit quickly if disaster strikes.
Once they make the commitment to put money into the
small caps they are there for the long term. They 
can't just jump in and out at will because of the
size of their positions. With the Russell closing 
at all time highs it gives notice to shorts everywhere
that funds are going long. With the Russell in blue
sky territory determining resistance is an art more
than a science but the nearest potential targets are
620 and 640 with a year-end target neat 700. This
would be a monster move and I would seriously doubt
it coming to pass. I would love to see it but that
would be a +14% gain from here and we have already 
seen a +19.6% move from the August lows. The main
point to make here is that the bulls are loose and
any move higher could create a stampede. 

Russell Chart


The NYSE Composite Index ($NYA) also broke out of its
range and ran for a new all time high at 6950. This
is confirmation that the NYSE stocks are being bought
and the Dow is a definite lagging indicator. The Dow
only had six stocks in negative territory today any
the biggest loss was PFE at -.32. Bullish sentiment
is alive and well but there was no rush out of the
corral due to the low volume. Despite the low volume
it was better than 2:1 in favor of advancers and up
volume was better than 3:1 over declining volume. 

Offsetting this bullishness was a drop in the VXO to
close at 13.31 and while not at the September lows
at 12.50 is suggests the bullish bias is reaching
extreme levels. During breakout rallies this index
can reach abnormal lows and I don't think it is time
to worry yet. This low volatility allows traders to 
protect long positions with puts at a very inexpensive
price. A break under 12.50 could be the sign the bull
is peaking. 

The most critical index for the day was the SPX which
came to a dead stop at 1175. This is monster resistance
that dates back to the post 9/11 bounce which failed
at 1176 and the high for all of 2002 at 1174. This is
major long term resistance but I think it will be
broken. The rebound is gaining strength after four
days of consolidation and I believe it is about to 
make another leg higher. If the SPX does break over
1175 on strong volume and the ER continues higher at
the same time then it is lights out for the bears. 
This is a key level that I cannot stress enough. If
it breaks then the Dow congestion from 10450-10550
should be only a soft patch and quickly overcome. 

SPX Chart


After the bell tonight Dell reported earnings that
were inline with estimates at 33 cents and guided
inline with prior estimates for +24% growth for 4Q
earnings. Initially Dell traded down about -50 cents
but ended the late session at $38.02 and a new four
year high. The CFO reiterated their current outlook
of hitting their $60 billion a year revenue target
in FY2006 a year earlier than previously expected. 
Notebook sales jumped +35% and double the industry
rate. Growth was still stronger overseas than in the
U.S. Dell said it was only seeing normal seasonal
growth for the 4Q and no real increase in IT spending.

Pixar also reported blowout earnings of 38 cents and
well over estimates of only 24 cents. They raised
estimates for the full year by 15-25 cents and were
very positive across the board. At one point PIXR
was up +4 in after hours but ended up +2.68. 

BEAS also beat the street by a penny and guided 
slightly higher BUT said they were not seeing any
pickup in IT spending for the 4Q. Normal seasonal
patterns had returned but no real jump in demand.

In another development Dell CEO Kevin Rollins said
Dell was considering using AMD chips in some of its
high end servers because "some AMD products are more
advanced". He quickly said the decision had not been
made and they were still a 100% Intel shop but the
news had already escaped. The comment puts the Intel
train at risk of a derailment if Dell decides to split
the shop. Dell is the only manufacturer that has not
broken from the Intel fold. AMD was up strongly for
the day and up slightly in after hours. Ironically
Intel was also up in after ours. 

Microsoft announced their new search engine today at
MSNSearch.com and the reviews were weaker than most
had expected. MSN has only indexed 4 billion pages 
where Google has over 8B. The current MSN search
engine is the first phase of an attack on Google 
and Yahoo and according to Microsoft it will evolve
rapidly. The less than spectacular showing gave GOOG
a boost as traders had expected the worst. One CNBC
interview with the WSJ new products tester Walt
Mossberg gave GOOG a +4 point bounce before the
interview was even over. Walt said the MSN search
engine would be good but it was currently no Google
and mentioned several other points that relieved investor
fears. GOOG ended up +15 for the day at $184.50 after 
trading as low as $167.57 earlier in the day. Shorts 
got crushed again but what else is new?

For Friday volume should return and the overnight
futures have lost their initial negativity and are
suggesting we will open higher. Economics will again
come into play but they are expected to take a back
seat to bullish sentiment. For tomorrow there is Retail
Sales, Business Inventories and Consumer Sentiment but
the real key is SPX 1175. Once we move over that level
on real volume the economics will be forgotten. Should
we get a dip I would see it as a buying opportunity.
One word of technical warning. All indications point
to a continued rally BUT we are very overbought. It
would be easy to make a case for a small pullback but
the strong bid underlying the market just won't go
away. Just be aware a sharp dip could come at any time
so you won't be surprised when it eventually appears.
Sell too soon! 

Jim Brown


Futures wrap is not emailed due to the excessive number of charts.
It may be read on the website at this address.

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Cyclical bear suffers another blow

Bulls stampeded again today in what could best be described as a 
celebratory salute to American veterans of all wars.

While Veteran's Day, originally known as "Armistice Day" was 
dedicated to the cause of world peace, bulls raged war against 
bears, where an all-time high for the Russell 2000 Index (RUT.X) 
616.30 +1.09%, which follows an all-time high for the NYSE 
Composite ($NYA.X) 6,950.97 +0.86% set last week, has the 
"cyclical bear" starting to wonder what the market knows, that he 
or she doesn't.

While the term "cyclical bear market" has been a wonderful catch 
phrase that market and economic bears will continue to use to 
scare away bulls, cyclical bear markets shouldn't be setting all-
time highs.

I will admit that in technical terms, the "cyclical bear" market 
for the S&P 500 Index (SPX.X) 1,173.48 +0.9% is still in play 
unless the SPX.X were to trade 1,553.00 and an all-time high.

Russell 2000 Index (RUT.X) Chart - Daily Interval


Bulls look to be embracing the small caps of the Russell 2000 
Index ($RUT.X), where its price action continues to suggest 
seasonal bullishness is building some conviction among investors.

Bears might want to embrace the RUT.X and step up their short 
covering after seeing this.

NYSE Composite ($NYA.X) Chart - Daily Intervals


The NYSE shows a nice move higher from my "stacked" retracement 
19.1% of 6,910.  Some viewed 6,900 as a round number of 
psychological resistance too.  That looks to have been bulldozed 
into the ground.  Yep.... 7,000 will hold as this "cyclical bear" 
is sure to resume any day now.

If you or I begin to question that 6,900 would, or 7,000 will hold any 
resistance, then that might explain what I saw and mentioned in today's 
01:00 PM EDT update and QQQ call activity.

Market Snapshot / Internals - 11/11/04 Close


Things were rather quiet for the first half of today's session, 
and when that's the case I tend to have a little more time to 
snoop around.  I can say this though.  November expiration can't 
come soon enough for the Semiconductor HOLDRs (SMH) $32.46 +1.85% 
and the covered calls at the Nov. $32.50 strike.  That action in 
the QQQ calls today suggests expiration can't come soon enough 
for a lot of call sellers.  See that expansion of new highs at 
03:00 PM EST.  After lunchtime, the 01:00 and 02:00 NH numbers 
were flattening out.  That's not all that unusual.  Within an 
hour, the NYSE posts 52 more highs?  That is somewhat unusual and 
makes me think bulls may be trying to save some positions that 
they don't want to sell, at levels they didn't think would be 

NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) - 25-point box


In the November 1 Index Trader Wrap we looked at the NDX.X point 
and figure chart.  A bear had better be thinking "something's 
wrong," while a bulls is thinking "something's right!"  

One trader asked about a possible "bull trap" pattern, where in 
the point and figure world is depicted by a triple top buy 
signal, where we see only one box get traded higher (like we see 
in the NDX.X) and then a quick reversal back lower.  This is a 
great question and observation to be alert to, but "bull traps" 
are usually found in a bear phase (bear correction, bear 
confirmed), not a bull confirmed market.  

Today's action may hint how quick bears are now calling it quits.  
At least the smart ones.  Bulls will use it to their advantage.

NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) Chart - Daily Intervals


In Tuesday evening's Futures Wrap, fellow analyst Jonathan 
Levinson couldn't have outlined the bull/bear case as depicted by 
the "Doji star" he observed.  Look what begins to happen as "3 
days' worth of well-applied shorts decide to hit the exits.

I didn't read Jonathan's wrap until tonight, as I was looking to 
see if anyone discussed the "Doji star" and it implications.  
However, I did trade the QQQ based on option action I was seeing 
as well as the action in the daily pivots.

NASDAQ-100 Index (NDX.X) - 10-minute interval


Other than oil's decline, I'm not aware of any news that had the 
NDX launching itself today.  I overlaid the "bear stop" of 1,530, 
thinking there might have been some shorts that shorted 
yesterday.  Do you sense the eagerness by bears to cover, or the 
aggressiveness building among bulls?

I had day trade QQQ bulls exit for a profit way to soon, just 
below the DAILY R2, but once the QQQ stuck its head back above 
DAILY R1, and the NDX 1,530 equivalent, you could really see some 
volume come into the Q's and they sprinted to DAILY R2 in rapid 

The above observation isn't just of day traders.  I'm trying to 
show how buyers are getting more aggressive.  Bullish and bearish 

I'll also note that I profiled a late session bullish trade in 
the Semiconductor HOLDRs (AMEX:SMH) $32.46 +1.85%, but buyers 
didn't seem as aggressive above today's DAILY R1 of $32.37 as 
they were in the QQQ.

Pivot Matrix -


The BIX.X is first to trade its WEEKLY R1, and that has been a 
bullish signal in recent weeks.  Note today's high in the SOX.X 
comes just under its WEEKLY Pivot.

If the SMH and even the SOX.X is being "artificially pinned" near 
a "Max Pain" level, then we should also be alert to the 
possibility that further gains among the major indices could un-
lodge the semis to the upside.

Can the INDU or OEX trade as high as DAILY R1 and MONTHLY R2 
correlations?  Price heavyweight (for the Dow) 3M (NYSE:MMM) 
$81.88 +1.27% traded $82.02 and kisses its 200-day SMA.  As noted 
in today's Market Monitor, that also gets MMM's point and figure 
chart back on a buy signal, where after a "low pole" warning, we 
get a bullish vertical count of $99.00.

On November 5th, kept touching on MMM in the intra-day updates 
and profiled a LEAPs call option play on this deep cyclical.  Its 
a "key stock" for bullishness in my opinion, as there are some 
very good tests for near-term strength, which I think the stock 
will surpass.

Jeff Bailey


Post-election Euphoria
- J. Brown

Investors certainly seem pretty enthusiastic these days.  Stocks 
have ignored less than inspiring news from big cap leaders like 
Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Coca-Cola (KO) and focused on the 
current rally underway.  Some may call today's gains an Arafat 
rally.  Now that the Palestinian leader is gone there is hope 
that a new leader will be more productive in any Middle East 
peace talks.  I'm not so sure his passing had any affect on 
stocks but it didn't hurt.  Others suggest today is a delayed 
reaction to the FOMC rate increase yesterday.  It could be.  The 
Fed appears ready to maintain its slow and moderate course.  

I believe that what we are seeing is just more of the same post-
election relief rally.  It's a relief the election is over.  It's 
a relief there was a clear winner.  It's a relief there was no 
terrorist event during the election.  Those on Wall Street are 
probably happy that the government has lowered the threat level 
from orange to yellow on most of the high profile financial 
targets in New York.  It's also a relief that crude oil has come 
down and just marked its fifth straight close under $50 a barrel 
and has broken technical support at its simple 50-dma.  

All of this has produced some powerful results.  The S&P 500 
index spent the last three sessions consolidating above the 1160 
level (old resistance becomes new support) and today surged more 
than 10 points to hit new multi-year highs.  The NASDAQ Composite 
broke out over resistance at 2050.  The Dow Transportation index 
pushed through resistance at 3600 to hit new highs not seen since 

The list of highs is pretty impressive.  The Russell 2000 small-
cap index just hit a new all-time high.  That's right, above its 
March 2000 peak.  Cyclical stocks, Retail stocks, and healthcare 
stocks, represented by their indices, are all at new all-time 
highs.  The BIX banking index is at a new all-time high while the 
BKX banking index isn't far behind.  Utilities are at three-year 
highs while natural gas stocks are near all-time highs.  Tech 
stocks are strong as well with the GHA hardware index and GSO 
software index making impressive gains over the last twelve 

What do all these new highs mean?  Aside from investor optimism 
for the widely expected fourth quarter rally it also means that 
stocks are overbought and way overdue for a pull back.  Of course 
one thing we have learned over the past few years is that stocks 
can always hit new extremes.  When we think stocks may have gone 
as low as they can go they can always go lower.  The reverse is 
true as well.  When we think they've hit their highs they can 
always go higher.  

That's why the VIX/VXO's usefulness has been less effective in 
the past year.  The volatility indices can still be a warning 
signal for us but the fear index is only one tool in our tool 
box.  Of course it's worth noting that the VIX/VXO are currently 
at bearish reversal levels signaling a short-term top is at or 
nearby.  On a more positive intermediate/long-term note the 
bullish percent sentiment indicators have collectively turned 
positive.  The last two weeks have seen an impressive turnaround 
with the Industrials bullish percent signal turning into a bull 
confirmed status.  

While I believe the fourth-quarter rally has begun it is tough to 
go long here with stocks so extended.  Be careful.  Be patient 
and pick your entry points carefully.  There is a horde of 
investors out there who feel like the train has left without them 
so it could be a challenge if you're waiting to buy the dip with 
everyone else looking for the same entry.  


Market Averages


52-week High: 10753
52-week Low :  9585
Current     : 10469

Moving Averages:

 10-dma: 10258
 50-dma: 10134 
200-dma: 10244 

S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1170
52-week Low : 1031
Current     : 1173

Moving Averages:

 10-dma: 1152
 50-dma: 1124
200-dma: 1120

Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 1559
52-week Low : 1301
Current     : 1541

Moving Averages:

 10-dma: 1512
 50-dma: 1445
200-dma: 1437


CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) = 13.04 -0.04
CBOE Mkt Volatility old VIX  (VXO) = 13.32 -0.31
Nasdaq Volatility Index (VXN)      = 18.92 -0.49 


          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume

Total          0.74        941,190       700,494
Equity Only    0.56        737,734       414,254
OEX            0.84         39,838        33,751
QQQ            1.74         37,511        65,369


Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          69.7    + 1.2   Bear Correction
NASDAQ-100    66.0    + 3     Bull Confirmed
Dow Indust.   63.3    + 3.3   Bull Confirmed***
S&P 500       70.8    + 1.6   Bull Confirmed
S&P 100       70.0    + 1     Bull 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: 0.95
10-dma: 0.93
21-dma: 0.95
55-dma: 1.04

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


Market Internals

            -NYSE-   -NASDAQ-
Advancers    2029      1997
Decliners     774      1030

New Highs     349       230
New Lows       13        25

Up Volume   1272M     1298M
Down Vol.    459M      438M

Total Vol.  1736M     1751M
M = millions


Commitments Of Traders Report: 11/02/04

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

Considering the fact that the latest data was taken as of
election day, Nov. 2nd, it's no surprise to see both 
commercials and small traders hedging their bets.  The 
next round of data should be more informative. 

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
10/12/04      423,472   436,780   (13,308)   (1.5%)
10/19/04      432,945   441,041   ( 8,096)   (0.9%)
10/26/04      441,263   445,992   ( 4,729)   (0.4%)
11/02/04      446,192   441,676   ( 4,516)   (0.4%)

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
10/12/04      139,175   113,903    25,272     9.9%
10/19/04      147,148   124,827    22,321     8.2%
10/26/04      138,201   121,275    16,926     6.5%
11/02/04      136,290   132,040     4,250     1.5%

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

E-mini traders are not as humble as the larger S&P futures
traders.  Commercials remain bearish and small traders 
have pushed their bullish bias to new multi-week levels. 
Just remember, this data is post-election. 

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI 
10/12/04      258,457   517,805   (259,348)  (33.4%)
10/19/04      264,860   531,541   (266,681)  (33.4%)
10/26/04      276,128   509,552   (233,424)  (29.7%)
11/02/04      307,053   580,081   (273,028)  (30.7%)

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
10/12/04      309,720     62,502   247,218    66.4%
10/19/04      353,903     66,027   287,876    68.5%
10/26/04      345,908     64,061   281,847    68.7%
11/02/04      395,029     63,746   331,283    72.2%

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


Just as small traders pushed their bullish S&P bias to multi-
week extremes; they've done the opposite on the NDX with a 
new multi-week bearish extreme and a new low for the year.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI 
10/12/04       52,572     32,775    19,797   23.2%
10/19/04       52,630     31,940    20,690   24.4%
10/26/04       53,233     31,323    21,910   26.2%
11/02/04       53,002     31,231    21,771   25.0%

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
10/12/04        8,756    24,400   (15,644)  (47.2%)
10/19/04       10,462    25,243   (14,781)  (41.3%)
10/26/04       10,521    25,388   (14,867)  (42.8%)
11/02/04        8,886    36,621   (27,735)  (61.3%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (27,735) - 11/02/04
Most bullish reading of the year:  19,088  - 01/21/02


Neither commercials nor small traders seem willing to place
any big bets but both are somewhat bullish on the Industrials.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
10/12/04       24,150    22,849    1,301       2.7%
10/19/04       25,385    24,213    1,172       2.3%
10/26/04       25,707    24,855      852       1.6%
11/02/04       25,319    24,261    1,058       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
10/12/04        8,814     9,167   (  353)   ( 1.9%)
10/19/04        8,327     6,015    2,312     16.1% 
10/26/04        8,405     6,336    2,069     14.3%
11/02/04        7,952     6,306    1,261      8.8%

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                 Thursday 11-11-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                        2 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

In Section Two:

Dropped Calls: None 
Dropped Puts: None
Call Play Updates: COP, DHR, EBAY, FDX, GDW, GS, IBM, ITT, ITW, LEH, 
                   OSK, SLB 
New Calls Plays: None
Put Play Updates: MXIM
New Put Plays: None


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.





Mike Parnos CPTI Seminar Comes To California In December
You've heard and read about the Couch Potato Trading 
Institute (CPTI).
For two years, you've been following the trades.  
You've watched as he produced a gain of over $60,000 
in the last 12 months -- on a $45,000 portfolio.  
That's an incredible 135% increase in value.  You may
have participated in some of the trades.
Join Mike in California on December 4th & 5th where 
he'll teach, as only he can, an intensive 2-day in 
depth seminar.
Learn all the conservative strategies that have 
generated these impressive results -- month, after 
For details, click here:


ConocoPhillips - COP - close: 86.76 change: -0.51 stop: 81.99 

The OIX oil index continues to consolidate sideways as crude oil 
trades under $50 a barrel.  Fortunately for the OIX and COP both 
continue to show a bullish signal developing in their MACD 
indicators.  As long as COP remains above the $85 level we'll 
probably stay bullish.  More conservative traders may want to 
consider raising their stop loss to just under the 40 or 50-dma.  
A bounce in the $85.50-86.00 range or a breakout over $90.00 can 
be used as a new entry point.

Picked on November 03 at $85.50
Change since picked:     + 1.26
Earnings Date          10/27/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      3.0 million 
Chart =


Danaher - DHR - close: 57.51 change: +1.01 stop: 52.99     

DHR reaffirmed its Q4 guidance and one firm reiterated their 
"buy" outlook on the stock.  Combined with the positive market 
environment shares of DHR bounced from their simple 10-dma for a 
1.78 percent gain.  Shares are resting under minor resistance at 
$58.  Remember, our initial target was the $60 region.  Readers 
can prepare to exit on any strength as DHR nears $60.
Picked on October 27 at $54.99
Change since picked:    + 2.52
Earnings Date         10/21/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     1.3 million 
Chart =


eBay Inc. - EBAY - close: 107.84 chg: +4.00 stop: 99.00*new*

Another strong day for tech stocks helped boost EBAY and shares 
added $4.00.  More importantly EBAY has now broken through minor 
resistance at the $105 level.  MarketMonitor readers already know 
that EBAY is in its traditional stock-splitting level.  
Management tends to announce a stock split when EBAY breaks out 
over the $100 mark.  In the news EBAY announced it has bought a 
Dutch classifieds website for $290 million in cash.  We are going 
to raise our stop loss to $99.00.  Remember, our short-term 
target was $110 while our end of year target was $120.  

Picked on November 80 at $103.69 
Change since picked:      + 4.15
Earnings Date           10/20/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      10.4 million 
Chart =


Fedex Corp - FDX - close: 94.80 change: +2.18 stop: 89.75*new*

The Dow Jones Transportation index added another 1.36 percent and 
broke through round-number resistance at the 3600 level.  The 
move was not lost on FDX investors who helped push shares of FDX 
up 2.35 percent to another all-time high over $94.  Short-term 
traders may want to consider taking some profits off the table 
now with our suggested options all up significant amounts.  Our 
year-end target remains $100 but that means we're willing to ride 
out the dips. We are going to raise our stop loss to $89.75, just 
under round-number support at $90.00.

Picked on October 21 at $89.45 
Change since picked:    + 5.35
Earnings Date         09/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     1.5 million 
Chart =


Golden West Financial - GDW - cls: 119.60 chg: +0.38 stop: 113.75

Strength in the financials on Wednesday helped push GDW up and 
through resistance at the $118.00 level.  We were triggered in 
the play when GDW traded at $118.15.  Shares are currently 
trading under round-number resistance at $120 but we don't expect 
this level to hold GDW back.  Readers can choose to buy a dip 
back to $118.00 or a breakout over $120.00.  

Picked on November 10 at $118.15
Change since picked:      + 1.45
Earnings Date           10/21/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       583 thousand   
Chart =


Goldman Sachs - GS - close: 103.00 change: +2.25 stop: 97.50*new*

Broker-dealers continue to soar and the XBD index hit new seven-
month highs.  Likewise GS defying its waning momentum and added 
another 2.2 percent to break out over minor resistance at $102.  
The stock is very close to our target price of $105.  Consider 
the $6.90 "gain" in this stock we are suggesting that readers 
consider taking profits now or prepare to take profits as GS 
nears the $105 level.  We are raising our stop loss to $97.50.

Picked on October 27 at $96.10
Change since picked:    + 6.90
Earnings Date         09/21/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     3.2 million 
Chart =


Intl Business Mach. - IBM - close: 94.79 chg: +1.18 stop: 89.00*new*

Another strong day for both tech stocks and the Industrials 
boosted IBM, one of the largest tech stocks and a Dow-component, 
to a new seven-month high.  Shares actually peaked over round-
number resistance at the $95 level late in the session.  Volume 
has been rising the last couple of sessions.  While we remain 
bullish on IBM the stock looks overbought.  We continue to target 
a move to $99-100 by year's end but our short-term target was 
$95.00.  Short-term traders should probably consider the idea of 
taking profits now and re-entering on a dip.  We are raising our 
stop loss to $89.00.
Picked on October 27 at $90.00
Change since picked:    + 4.79
Earnings Date         10/18/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     4.7 million 
Chart =


ITT Industries - ITT - close: 85.44 chg: +0.74 stop: 82.50 *new*

Exit alert!  ITT is rebounding from the $84.00 level and is very 
close to hitting our exit point at $85.90.  Readers can prepare 
to exit for a profit.  We are going to raise our stop loss to 
$82.50.  We are not suggesting new positions at this time.

Picked on November 03 at $81.51
Change since picked:     + 3.93
Earnings Date          10/21/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      460 thousand
Chart =


Illinois Tool Works - ITW - cls: 95.44 chg: +1.59 stop: 92.00*new*

Exit alert!  After three days of digesting its gains above the 
$94 level shares of ITW are close to hitting our exit 
point/profit target at $96.00.  This close to our target we are 
not suggesting new positions.  We are raising our stop loss to 

Picked on October 27 at $90.89
Change since picked:    + 4.55
Earnings Date         10/19/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     1.2 million 
Chart =


Lehman Brothers - LEH - close: 83.92 chg: +0.97 stop: 79.95  

LEH has begun to rebound from its recent consolidation just as 
the XBD adds another 1.65 percent.  Expectations are running 
pretty strong for the broker-dealers to beat estimates again when 
they report earnings in December.  We would look for LEH to run 
higher into its report in mid-December.  Readers can use today's 
bounce as an entry point.  

Picked on October 26 at $80.60 
Change since picked:    + 3.32 
Earnings Date         09/21/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =     2.0 million 
Chart =


Oshkosh Truck - OSK - close: 63.21 change: +0.91 stop: 57.00

Shares of OSK continue to plod along.  The stock has spent the 
previous three sessions digesting some of its early November 
gains.  Now shares are on the move higher again.  We expect this 
to be a less volatile mover.  We would still consider long 
positions on a dip above $60.00 and we would plan on holding it 
until year's end.

Picked on November 07 at $ 62.16
Change since picked:      + 1.05
Earnings Date           10/28/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       205 thousand   
Chart =


Schlumberger - SLB - close: 64.18 change: +0.27 stop: 61.00

SLB is getting closer.  The OSX oil services index was down today 
but not by much.  Meanwhile SLB continues to coil under 
resistance near $65.00.  Our indicators suggest the stock is 
getting ready to move again and the MACD on its daily chart just 
produced a new buy signal today.  Our trigger to go long is at 
$65.05 and we're targeting a quick run toward the $70.00 level.

Picked on November xx at $ xx.xx <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked:      + 0.00
Earnings Date           10/22/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =       3.9 million    
Chart =



Trade Smarter Using the latest Insider Trades
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before a big price jump? 
Find out now. Get your free download of Real Time insider trades:


Maxim Integrated - MXIM - close: 42.42 chg: +0.38 stop: 45.51

It was an interesting day for semiconductor stocks.  The SOX 
jumped 2 percent but not quite enough to erase yesterday's 
losses.  The move was fueled by positive comments on select 
semiconductor companies from Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch.  
MXIM was not upgraded by either company.  Instead Wells Fargo 
came out and started coverage on MXIM with a "sell" rating.  This 
is good news for us as put buyers and probably kept the lid on 
any bounce in MXIM shares.  Readers may actually want to use 
today's move, which looks like a failed rally under $43.00, as an 
entry point.  Otherwise we'd probably suggest readers look for a 
move under $41.85 before considering new bearish positions.  
Remember, this is purely a technical play on our part but 
obviously Wells Fargo doesn't believe that MXIM's fundamentals 
make the stock a buy.  

Picked on November 10 at $42.04
Change since picked:     + 0.38
Earnings Date          10/05/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      6.0 million 
Chart =



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The Option Investor Newsletter                 Thursday 11-11-2004
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.                        3 of 3
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.

In Section Three:

Watch List: Specialty Retail to Financials and more
Combos/Straddles: Getting Mugged By The Markets 


Specialty Retail to Financials and more


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.

Whole Foods Market Inc - WFMI - close: 94.57 change: +8.42

WHAT TO WATCH: Wow!  The post-earnings reaction in shares of WFMI 
sent the stock to a 9.77 percent gain.  The stock looks short-
term overbought here but the move has produced a new buy signal 
on its weekly MACD indicator.  We would watch for a pull back in 
the $91-90 range and consider buying a bounce.  The bullish P&F 
chart points to a $108.00 target. 



Capital One Financial - COF - close: 79.25 change: +0.60

WHAT TO WATCH: The three-week trend in COF is very strong.  The 
stock has broken through resistance at $75 and the $77.50 levels 
to hit new all-time highs.  The stock is currently nearing round-
number resistance at $80.00.  Considering the strength in the 
financial sector COF could keep going but shares are overbought 
and due for a pull back.  Watch for a dip and look for support 
near $77.50.  FYI: the P&F chart only points to an $82 target.



Caterpillar - CAT - close: 89.85 change: +1.11

WHAT TO WATCH: Wow!  The three-week rally in Dow-component CAT is 
impressive.  Shares bounced from their simple 200-dma and never 
looked back.  The stock plowed through resistance at $82.00 and 
the $85.00 levels and is now hitting new all-time highs.  We are 
not suggesting new positions at this time.  We would watch for a 
pull back toward the $85 region and consider buying a bounce.  



Freddie Mac - FRE - close: 68.65 change: +1.35

WHAT TO WATCH: FRE is rebounding from its late October lows and 
has broken its short-term trend of lower highs.  Technicals are 
positive and the stock is headed toward major resistance at $70.  
When we say major resistance we mean it.  FRE has been unable to 
breakthrough the $70 level for years.  A push past $70 would be 
seen as a bullish entry point.  A move over $70 would also 
produce a new P&F buy signal.


RADAR SCREEN - more stocks to watch

UN $62.03 +0.61 - UN has now broken through resistance near $62 
and its simple 100-dma.  Watch for a move over its exponential 

ZOLL $31.35 -1.70 - ZOLL is once again testing major support at 
the $30.00 level.  This is multi-year support and a breakdown 
would be very bearish.

AT $56.55 +0.73 - AT has broken resistance at $56.00 but still 
has resistance near $56.50 dating back to late 2002 and early 

Mike Parnos CPTI Seminar Comes To California In December
You've heard and read about the Couch Potato Trading 
Institute (CPTI).
For two years, you've been following the trades.  
You've watched as he produced a gain of over $60,000 
in the last 12 months -- on a $45,000 portfolio.  
That's an incredible 135% increase in value.  You may
have participated in some of the trades.
Join Mike in California on December 4th & 5th where 
he'll teach, as only he can, an intensive 2-day in 
depth seminar.
Learn all the conservative strategies that have 
generated these impressive results -- month, after 
For details, click here:


Getting Mugged By The Markets

By Mike Parnos

Yes, we're the victims of a mugging.  It's a good thing we weren't 
carrying a lot of money with us.  The markets snuck up behind us 
with a gun and a mask -- and the rest is history (and history in 
the making).  Taking a loss will leave a bad taste in your mouth, 
but it won't last long.  Have a little sorbet to cleanse your 
trading palette and, before you know it, you'll be ready to go 

Admit it.  A load has been lifted.  After some initial frustration, 
a little anger and a few moments of self-pity, you feel a sense of 
relief once you've taken a loss.  It's one less position to deal 
with. Now you can focus on creating a plan to start recouping the 

Good Riddance To November RUT
Many of us who were in the RUT Iron Condor had to bail out once the 
RUT broke out over it's 52-week high of about 606.  It was a tough 
decision, but with no overhead supply in sight, there seemed to be 
clear sailing on the upside.  It cost $4.10 to close out the 
610/620 bear call spread.  It wasn't easy, either.  You know how 
much fun the RUT market makers are to deal with -- not much.  I 
have a plan to get even, but that's a topic for another column.

It cost us $4,100 to unwind the RUT bear call spread.   We took in 
$1,300 when we established the position.  Therefore, the loss is 
$2,800.  Based on the fact that the RUT has continued to move up to 
616, we made the right choice and controlled our loss.  

Our OEX position is now 5 points in-the-money.  It is the only 
index that hasn't broken through resistance at about 560.  It would 
cost about $5.55 to close out the 555/565 bear call spread.  That's 
a lot, but with the market zooming up, it's way overdue for a 
pullback.  If there is a pullback, it's often the weaker of the 
indexes that come down the farthest and fastest.  It's a calculated 

I know many CPTI students have already closed their positions.  
They did right.  They had their personal risk tolerance levels and 
they stuck to it.  That's both wise and admirable.

If the market keeps moving up, our SPX 1185/1200 will soon be at 
risk.  Come on, market, have a heart.  It's time to rest.  We're 
starting our third year tracking our portfolio and we're going to 
be starting it in a hole.  How deep will the hole be?  Time will 
tell.  Just control your losses and we'll still have plenty of 
money left to work with.

Our Iron Condor strategy is most effective in a range-bound market.  
It's been that way for a long time and we've amassed a nice cash 
reserve.  Markets trade in a range about 85% of the time.  For now, 
we're stuck in a trending market.  It's temporary, but we'll have 
to take that into consideration when placing any new positions.  
For December, our skepticism will be reflected in the positions we 
will choose.  Some of you may decide not to trade the December 
cycle.  There's nothing wrong with not being in the market.  
Remember, we only want to trade on our terms.  We won't compromise.  
We didn't accumulate our profits to give them away.  Be careful and 
trade smart!

Our Money Machine Has A Hiccup 
I've been on the phone a lot the last week with CPTI students, both 
newsletter and private.  It's interesting to see, after so many 
months of few or no losses, the reaction to some bumps (albeit 
expensive ones) on the road to profits.  When all options of an 
Iron Condor expire worthless, it's taken for granted.  It's like a 
money machine.  Well, as you've discovered, the machine isn't 
perfect, but it will certainly do until we get an inheritance from 
our long lost uncle.

Be Careful What You Wish For . . .
Three buddies die in a car crash, they go to heaven to an 
orientation.  They are all asked, "When you're in your casket and 
friends and family are mourning upon you, what would you like to 
hear them say about you?"

The first guy says, "I'd like to hear them say that I was a great 
doctor of my time, and a great family man."

The second guy says, "I'd like to hear that I was a wonderful 
husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in our 
children of tomorrow."

The last guy replies, "I'd like to hear them say......LOOK, HE'S 

November Position #1 - SPX Iron Condor - 1173.48
We sold 12 SPX November 1185 calls and bought 12 SPX November 1200 
calls with a credit of about $1.25 ($1,500).  Then we sold 9 SPX 
November 1070 puts and bought 9 SPX November 1050 puts for a credit 
of about $1.65 ($1,485).  Total credit and potential profit of 
about $2,985.  The maximum profit range is from 1070 to 1185.  The 
maintenance is $18,000.  The potential return on risk is about 20%.

November Position #2 - SPX Iron Condor - 1173.48
Considering the downward market movement, I felt it is appropriate 
to initiate a SPX position with different parameters.  We sold 10 
SPX Nov. 1160 calls and bought 10 SPX Nov. 1180 calls for a credit 
of about $1.40 ($1,400).  Then we sold 10 SPX Nov. 1025 puts and 
bought 10 SPX Nov. 1005 puts for a credit of about $1.20 ($1,560).  
Profit potential was about $2,960.  Closed for $3,840 loss.  (see 
article text).

November Position #3 - OEX Iron Condor - 560.18
We sold 10 OEX Nov. 500 puts and bought 10 OEX Nov. 490 puts for a 
credit of about $.70 ($700).  Then we sold 10 OEX Nov. 555 calls 
and bought 10 OEX Nov. 565 calls for a credit of about $.60 ($600).  
Total net credit and maximum profit of $1.30 ($1,300).  Max profit 
trading range of 500 to 555.  Maintenance $10,000.

November Position #4 - RUT - Iron Condor - 616.30
We sold 10 RUT Nov. 520 puts and bought 10 RUT Nov. 510 puts for a 
credit of about $.70 ($700).  Then we sold 10 RUT Nov. 610 calls 
and bought 10 RUT Nov. 620 calls for a credit of about $.60 ($600).  
Total net credit and maximum profit of $1.30 ($1,300).  Closed for 
$2,800 loss. (see article above)

QQQ ITM Strangle – Ongoing Long Term -- $38.29
We bought 10 contracts of the 2005 QQQ $39 puts and 10 contracts of 
the 2005 QQQ $29 calls for a total debit of $14,300.   We make 
money by selling near term puts and calls every month.  Here’s what 
we’ve done so far:  Oct. $33 puts and Oct. $34 calls – credit of 
$1,900. Nov. $34 puts and calls – credit of $1,150. Dec. $34 puts 
and calls – credit of $1,500.  Jan. $34 puts and calls – credit of 
$850.  Feb. $34 calls and $36 puts – credit of $750. Mar. $34 calls 
and $37 puts – credit of $1,150. Apr. $34 calls and $37 puts – 
credit of $750.  May $34 calls and $37 puts – credit of $800. June 
$34 calls and $37 puts -- total net credit of $750.  We rolled out 
to the July $34 calls ($.20 credit) and $37 puts ($.60 credit) and 
took in a credit of $.80 ($800).  We rolled to the August $34 calls 
and $37 puts, taking in a credit of $900.  We rolled to the Sept. 
$34 calls and $37 puts, yielding $.45 or $450 for the cycle. For 
October we were again limited to a $.45 ($450) rollout.  We rolled 
to the November. $34 calls and $37 puts for a total of $.70 ($700). 
Our new total credit is now $12,900. 

Note:  We haven't included the proceeds from this long term QQQ ITM 
Strangle in our profit calculations.  It's a bonus!  And it's a 
great conservative cash flow generating strategy.  

ZERO-PLUS Strategy.  OEX – 560.18
In my Feb. 8th column, I outlined a strategy based on an initial 
investment of $100,000.  $74,000 was spent on zero coupon bonds 
maturing in seven years at a value of $100,000.  The principal 
$100,000 investment is guaranteed.  We’re trading the remaining 
$26,000 to generate a "risk free" return on the original 
investment.  We own 3 OEX December 2006 540 calls @ $81 (x 300 = 
$24,300).  Our cash position as of August expiration was $8,390.  
In September we added another $975 for a total of $9,365.  In 
October we added $650 for a new total of $10,015.

Zero-Plus Position For November
November bull put spread 500/490 for credit of $.70 x 5 = $350.  
November bear call spread 555/565 for credit of $.60 x 5 = $300.  
If all goes well, we'll be able to add another $650 to our cash 

SPX "Sure Thing" Strategy - 1173.48
Formerly called the "Credit Spread Boogie."  We sold 3 SPX 1120 
October puts and bought 3 SPX 1095 October puts for a net credit of 
about $6.50 ($1,950).  The initial maintenance was $7,500.

When the SPX traded in the low 1100s, it was time for an 
adjustment.  We closed out the original bull put spread for $13.20 
($3,960).  We then opened a seven-contract position of an 1115/1140 
bear call spread, taking in $6.35 ($4,445).  We took in some extra 
premium.  Our new profit potential is $2,435 -- if SPX closes below 

We've been getting whipsawed.  Our most recent position was a 
November 14-contract 1120/1095 bull put spread at $7.00 ($9,800).  
The maintenance is getting pricey at $35,000.  That's why this 
strategy is not for everyone.  Our potential profit is still 
$2,435.  We had to close the 1120/1095 bull put spread and we 
initiated a new 1115/1140 bear call spread.  We picked up another 
$350 in premium to $2,785, but our maintenance is now $70,000.

Once more with feeling.  I know this is getting out of hand, but we 
have to play out the hand.  We closed out our 1115/1140 bear call 
spread and now have 60 contracts of a November 1125/1100 bull put 
spread.  We've taken in a total of $2990 in premium and our 
maintenance is now $150,000.  I hope this is the last of it.  

Happy Trading! 
Remember the CPTI credo: May our remote batteries and self-
discipline last forever, but mierde happens. Be prepared! In 
trading, as in life, it's not the cards we're dealt. It's how we 
play them.
Mike Parnos, Your Options Therapist and CPTI Master Strategist

Couch Potato Trading Institute Disclaimer
All results reported in this section are hypothetical. While the 
numbers represented here may have been achieved or beaten by our 
readers, we make no representation that any individual investor 
achieved these exact results. The tracking for the plays listed in 
this section uses closing prices for the day the newsletter is 
published and it is not meant to imply that any reader actually 
received those prices or participated in these recommendations. The 
portfolio represented here is hypothetical and for investment 
education purposes only. It is only an illustration of what type of 
gains a knowledgeable investor might receive utilizing these 

Trade Smarter Using the latest Insider Trades
Is the CEO selling off? Has a key insider loaded up on shares 
before a big price jump? 
Find out now. Get your free download of Real Time insider trades:


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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.

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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