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Daily Newsletter, Wednesday, 01/12/2005

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 01-12-2005
Copyright 2005, All rights reserved.                        1 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section One:

Wrap: January's "Early Warning System"   
Futures Wrap: See Note
Index Trader Wrap: See Note 


Posted online for subscribers at http://www.OptionInvestor.com
******************************************************************
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
******************************************************************
      01-12-2005           High     Low     Volume   Adv/Dcl
DJIA    10617.78 + 61.56 10622.88 10499.47 1.95 bln 1612/1208
NASDAQ   2092.53 + 12.91  2093.44  2066.79 2.26 bln 1593/1434
S&P 100   567.31 +  2.63   567.54   561.96   Totals 3205/2642
S&P 500  1187.70 +  4.71  1187.98  1175.64
SOX       401.83 +  5.64   404.65   395.06
RUS 2000  613.19 +  1.66   613.70   604.64
DJ TRANS 3587.18 - 57.08  3645.37  3557.90 
VIX        12.56 -  0.63    13.94    12.54
VXO (VIX-O)12.79 -  0.24    13.78    12.77
VXN        19.28 -  0.39    19.70    18.995
Total Volume 4,221M
Total UpVol  2,794M
Total DnVol  1,349M
Total Adv  3205
Total Dcl  2642
52wk Highs  126 
52wk Lows    62
TRIN       0.86
PUT/CALL   0.93
******************************************************************

January's "Early Warning System"  

Jane Fox

The Stock Traders's Almanac states that January's First Five Days 
of trading is an "Early Warning System" for the rest of the year.  
It goes like this - if the First Five Days of January are up then 
there is an 85.3% chance the rest of the year will be up also. 
Since the first five days of January this year were not up, they 
were down, is the Early Warning System giving us an early warning 
that we have bearish year ahead? Since 1950 the first five days 
in January were down 20 times and of those 20 times 10 were 
followed by a yearly bear market. This is a 50% accuracy rate, 
which I guess is OK but I'm not too encouraged by 50% odds but it 
gets better. Since 1950 there have been 13 post election years 
and 8 of those have posted a First Five Day loss. Of those 8 
years, 6 were followed by a yearly bear market, a 75% accuracy 
record. Now I like those odds a lot better. 

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that was 
pooh pawing using history as way to invest. I quote, "Jeffery 
Saut, chief investment strategist for Raymond James, says people 
who invest according to such information are 'fooled by 
randomness.' While historical patterns are often mathematically 
intriguing, the market has a helter-skelter tendency to move in 
ways that defy strategists' complex models."  What kind of 
nonsense is that? The game of trading and investing is a game of 
probabilities and your edge is that you have probability on your 
side. If you didn’t have probability on your side how in heavens 
name could you trade or invest. If you trade a particular pattern 
and know that it has a 75% accuracy rate you will you play it - 
you would be fool not to. Don't you need history to determine 
that you had a 75% chance of winning? Many say trading 
(investing) is like gambling and I used to really bristle at 
being compared to a gambler but over the years I have begun to 
realize that it is true. But what I also came to realize was the 
reason I bristled was that I was comparing a trader (myself) to 
your garden variety gambler that frequents the casinos only on 
vacation and expects to lose. Nothing could be further from the 
truth. Professional traders should not be compared the vacation 
gambler they should be compared to the professional gambler, the 
one that knows the rules and knows the odd and plays the odds, 
plays the probabilities. Anyone who thinks trading or investing 
is anything else is fooling themselves. Now you may say: I am an 
investor in for the long term so that doesn’t apply to me. Sorry 
but it does. If you knew the market had a "history" of returning 
-5% annually per year would you have your money in the market. 
No. You invest for the long term because the market has a 
"history" of returning 10% annually. Isn’t that just playing the 
odds, playing the probabilities? Ok I'll get off my soap box and 
move on to the numbers.

THE NUMBERS

Many people were expecting the declining dollar would stimulate 
demand for U.S. products overseas and decrease the U.S. trade 
imbalance. Unfortunately a global slowdown has cooled demand for 
products and the 8:30 news of a new record trade imbalance was 
not received well by the market. It started to drop as soon as 
had had enough and began to fight back. Unfortunately though they 
were not able to muster the troops enough to reach new daily 
highs before the lunch hour doldrums set in. So many were 
expecting the trend for the last few weeks - a market selloff in 
the last 1/2 hour - was a sure thing. Well the selloff didn't 
happen as a matter of fact the opposite took place as the market 
started another rally and this time it reached and exceeded daily 
highs. This in turn was fueled by short sellers (the ones betting 
on the selloff) having to cover their butts... err positions. 

The DOW fell 67 points in the morning but finished up 61.63 to 
close at 10617.85. The S&P 500 added 4.71 to 1187.70 and the 
Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 12.91 to 2092.53. The NYSE traded 
1.6 million shares traded, 1,933 stocks rose and 1,395 fell. On 
the Nasdaq Stock Market, where volume was 2.2 billion, 1,639 
stocks advanced and 1,475 declined

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson is 
reconsidering a proposal to overhaul the way stocks are traded in 
the U.S., a proposal opposed by the New York Stock Exchange. At 
issue is whether investors should always be guaranteed the best 
price when buying or selling shares. The SEC backs the idea that 
brokers and markets should be required to get the best price 
available for a stock, regardless of where it is trading, or 
match the better price. The rule is being criticized by some who 
argue that getting the best price often takes so long that, on 
big trades involving multiple transactions, the price of a stock 
can be driven up or down quickly to their disadvantage.

The rule gives the NYSE an advantage because it often posts the 
best price for its listed stocks. But because the NYSE isn't an 
automated marketplace, its human-based floor-trading system can 
take slightly longer to execute trades than it would take in an 
electronic marketplace such as the Nasdaq Stock Market. So why is 
the NYSE opposed to the SEC's proposal? NYSE Chief Executive 
Officer John Thain believes that the rule could jeopardize his 
plan to automate the Big Board and allow for more electronic 
trading. To implement the best-price rule "would make it very 
difficult" for his new model to work and would "also make it very 
difficult to have the continuous auction process that exists 
today on the floor of the exchange." The NYSE wants its cake and 
eat it too because at the same time the NYSE is trying to 
automate they will still retain their human-based floor-trading 
by the elite floor-trading firms known as specialists and the SEC 
proposal would diminish the role of these specialists. Can't have 
that happen how can we?

But fears of the unknown and unintended consequences are taking a 
toll on Mr. Donaldson so he is backing off somewhat and is 
considering an alternative approach that would guarantee price 
protection as long as it could be filed automatically and without 
human intervention.  

ECONOMIC REPORTS 

Although analysts expected to see a rebound from the slow holiday 
period, applications for home loans dropped last week due to a 
decrease in purchasing activity that offset an increase in 
refinancing activity. 

At 7:00EST this morning the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) 
released its weekly report on the seasonally adjusted index of 
mortgage application activity. It showed the index declined 3% to 
587.8. This was after a 10% decline the week before and also the 
lowest level the index has seen since the week ended June 25, 
2004, when the index was at 575.0. 

Some are saying this is due to a slight increase in mortgage 
rates, which averaged 5.7% last week (for the 30-year fixed) up 
from 5.67% the week before. However when you look under the hood 
you see that rates are comparable to where they were several 
months ago when the index was substantially higher. For example, 
the week ending November 12th, 2004, fixed 30-year mortgage rates 
were the same and the MBA's market index stood at 758.3. 

Drilling down into the report we find the gauge of loan requests 
for home purchases, the purchase index, hit 13% its lowest level 
in over a year. This, of course, is raising concerns that the 
housing market may be slowing down or even - heaven forbid - 
starting to decline. But please consider that this is weekly data 
and subject to swings that are not always indicative of a trend 
change but it does make you want to keep your eye on this weekly 
report and any further drop will likely instigate additional 
concern about the strength of the housing market. 

The Commerce Department's 8:30EST release of the November 
International Trade Balance caught a lot of economists by 
surprise who had been anticipating a pull back in the November 
deficit because of a decline in the price of oil. But quite the 
opposite happened when it was revealed that the U.S. trade gap 
climbed to a new record showing the fall in the price of oil was 
more than offset by an increase in demand for foreign oil while 
sales of U.S. goods and services overseas fell for the first time 
in five months. Although economists had forecast the deficit 
would narrow to $53.60 billion, the U.S. deficit in international 
trade of goods and services grew 7.7% to $60.3 billion. The trade 
deficit through November totaled $561.3 billion, well above the 
previous annual record of $496.5 billion set in 2003. 

Imports overall increased 1.3% to $155.85 billion during November 
and exports fell 2.3% to $66.5 billion, the first decline in five 
months reflecting a drop in shipments of U.S. autos and auto 
parts, civilian aircraft, telecommunications equipment and 
industrial machinery.

At 10:30 the U.S. Department of Energy release of the weekly 
Crude Oil/Gasoline/Distillate inventories reported that the U.S. 
supply of crude oil declined by 3 million barrels last week to 
288.8 million barrels. This is 7% higher than a year ago. The 
supply of distillate fuel, including heating oil, diesel and jet 
fuel, rose by 1.9 million barrels, though inventories are 8% 
below a year ago at 123 million barrels. 

The last on the economic report docket was the 2:00EST Treasury 
Department's release of its monthly budget. The Treasury 
Department said the shortfall between receipts and outlays in the 
month of December 2004 was a narrower-than-expected $3.44 billion 
and well below the $17.64 billion budget gap recorded in December 
2003. Analysts were expecting a $4.50 billion shortfall.

THE CHARTS

SPX DAILY CHART

 


Last Wednesday January 5th I wrote in the Market Wrap that I 
thought the SPX chart was pretty bearish. It had broken the 
50EMA, broken out of a regression channel and was sporting a huge 
MACD divergence. Well it just may have resolved all the 
bearishness and started a recovery. But the challenge now is to 
determine what a recovery looks like. Well first of all take a 
look at the magenta box on the chart. Can you see how the lower 
regression line was broken then tested on January 10th for 
validity? So that would be our first hint - a break above the 
lower line on the regression channel. Secondly you will want to 
see a break and a retest of the 50EMA. Thirdly you will want the 
MACD (I use 8,18,6) to cross back up and then back above the 0 
line. Then the big challenge will be to make new yearly highs. 
Possible - yes it is. Easy - not in your life is anything in the 
stock market easy. 

DOW DAILY CHART

 

I feel that the negative MACD divergence has worked its self out 
on this chart as well but we will have to see the MACD make a 
bullish and get above the 0 line before we can say the MACD is 
once again bullish. In the same vane as the SPX, this market also 
needs to climb above the 50EMA before the bulls can go back in 
the water. New yearly highs would be nice as well. 

I have left the red trendline on the chart as a reminder of the 
Stock Trader's Almanac theory called the Incredible January 
Barometer, which I reviewed in the January 5th Market Wrap. The 
magenta line is a small revision to that theory. 

NASDAQ DAILY CHART

 

The bearish wedge and the negative MACD divergence were just too 
much for this market and when it succumbed to the pressure it did 
it in a big way. However, I do feel that all this bearishness may 
be behind us and like with the other markets it will have to 
prove it to me. First of all MACD has to make a bullish cross 
then print above the 0 line. Secondly the NAZ has to break the 
50EMA and complete a successful retest. Then on to new yearly 
highs? - well we'll see. 

RUSSELL 2000 DAILY CHART 

 

Here we see the same bearish wedge and negative MACD divergence 
that showed up in the NASDAQ chart and once again I feel that 
maybe all the bearishness has worked its self out but this chart 
has a little more work to do than its bigger brethren. For one 
the MACD has a lot further to go before it is once again above 
the 0 line. Next this market has reached a 68% retracement of its 
rally from October lows while the NAZ has only retraced 50% and 
the SPX and the DOW have both only retraced 38%. This market was 
hit a lot harder this year than the bigger cap markets for sure. 

After the bell Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) posted a quarterly 
profit that more than quadrupled due to skyrocketing sales of its 
iPod digital music players and strong demand for its PowerBook 
notebook PCs. AAPL traded to a high of 74.90 in after hours. 

Thursday's economic releases begin with the usual 8:30 release of 
jobless claims, accompanied by the release of December's Advance 
Retail Sales ex-auto, and December's Import Price Index.  They 
continue with natural gas inventories at 10:30 and the 4:30 Money 
Supply release.  Earnings Thursday include before the bell MI and 
MTG and after-the-bell reports by tech stocks CREE, DGII, RMBS, 
SUNW and TMTA, giving investors a look at demand for display 
components, network access and communications devices, chips, 
servers and microprocessors.  

Remember play the probabilities. 

Jane Fox 


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

Check the Site Later Tonight For Jeff's Index Trader Article
http://members.OptionInvestor.com/itrader/marketwrap/iw_011205_1.asp

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The Option Investor Newsletter                Wednesday 01-12-2005
Copyright 2005, All rights reserved.                        2 of 2
Redistribution in any form strictly prohibited.


In Section Two:

Watch List: Biotech to Internet and more
Stop Loss Updates: BBOX, COF, PD, TXI, ADBE, CAI
Dropped Calls: None
Dropped Puts: None
New Calls: AET, AMGN, FRO
New Puts: None

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

Biotech to Internet 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.
___________________________________________________________________


Invitrogen - IVGN - close: 67.16 change: +0.75

WHAT TO WATCH: IVGN continues to consolidate sideways between $64 
and $68.50 but the current bounce might produce a breakout.  We 
would watch for a move over $68.70 as a potential entry point.  
The stock tends to stair-step higher and we would target a move 
into the $72.50-75.00 range.  Watch for earnings on or around 
Jan. 27th.

Chart=


---

eBay Inc - EBAY - close: 107.25 change: +2.41 

WHAT TO WATCH: We made note of EBAY's sharp intraday rebound in 
the MarketMonitor this afternoon.  Shares dipped to $101.81 or 
its 100-dma before traders bought the dip.  The stock was a bit 
short-term oversold after hitting the $118 level in late 
December.  The question now is whether EBAY will rebound back 
above round-number, psychological resistance at the $110 level.  
Volume was pretty heavy today and most of it came on the rebound.  
The speculative trader inside of us says this bounce is the entry 
point we want but we're willing to wait it out.  Watch for 
earnings around Jan. 19th.

Chart=


---

Biogen Idec - BIIB - close: 67.11 change: +1.31 

WHAT TO WATCH: Is it time to play BIIB again?  The stock has been 
consolidating sideways near the $65 mark for five weeks now.  
Technicals are starting to improve so we would watch for a move 
over $68 as a new bullish entry point.  Our target would be the 
$75 region.  

Chart=


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

UTX $101.94 +1.78 - The rebound in UTX back above the $101 level 
looks like a short-term bullish entry point.  Stochastics and RSI 
confirm it.

CME $207.10 -5.34 - CME broke technical support at its 50-dma 
today but bounced from the $200 level at least twice.  Volume was 
very heavy.  A failed rally at $210 would be a very aggressive 
bearish entry point.  Instead watch for a drop under $200 and 
target the 100-dma.

CI $82.50 +1.51 - CI is showing some relative strength.  A move 
over $83.00-83.50 could be a bullish entry point for a run 
towards $90.


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

BBOX - call play -
  Believe it or not BBOX might survive. Shares look poised to
  trade higher on Thursday.
 
 
COF - call play -
  COF is bouncing from the $80.90 level again.  This could be 
  a new bullish entry point but we would confirm direction tomorrow
  before considering new plays.  A move over $83 would be 
  encouraging.
 
 
PD - call play -
  PD is turning around with today's 2.5 percent gain.  Technicals
  suggest more strength ahead.
 
 
TXI - call play -
  Wednesday's bounce from the $59.80 region ($60 level) could be
  a new bullish entry point.
 
ADBE - put play -
  Bears need to be careful here.  ADBE is set to bounce and a 
  breakout over $60.00 would be bad news for shorts.
 
 
CAI - put play -
   Readers should be cautious on CAI as well.  The stock broke 
support intraday but managed a sharp rebound.  We'll expect the 
bounce  to continue tomorrow.


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

None


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

None

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*********
NEW CALLS
*********

Aetna Inc - AET - close: 126.92 change: +1.72 stop: 119.99

Company Description:
As one of the nation's leading providers of health care, dental, 
pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, 
Aetna puts information and helpful resources to work for its 
approximately 13.6 million medical members, 11.6 million dental 
members, 8.3 million pharmacy members and 13.3 million group 
insurance members to help them make better informed decisions 
about their health care and protect their finances against 
health-related risks. Aetna provides easy access to cost-
effective health care through a nationwide network of more than 
646,000 health care professionals, including over 385,000 primary 
care and specialist doctors and 3,908 hospitals.
(source: company press release)

Why We Like It:
We have had our eye on AET for weeks.  Shares were exceptionally 
strong during the fourth quarter and have managed to maintain 
those gains.  Now after five weeks of consolidating sideways 
between $120.00 and $127.50 it looks like AET is ready to 
breakout again.  The MACD indicator is nearing a new buy signal 
and its short-term technicals are already bullish.  The P&F chart 
is extremely bullish with a $213 long-term target.  It hasn't 
hurt that at least two major brokers have reiterated their "buy" 
rating on AET in the last two weeks.  If the broader markets are 
poised to bounce then AET could breakout over resistance and 
charge off to new highs.  We want to ride it into its early 
February earnings announcement (but not hold over the report).  
Our plan is to go long at $127.61, which would be a new all-time 
high for AET.  Our initial stop loss is going to be wide but we 
suspect AET can reach the $135-140 range before earnings.

Suggested Options:
We are not planning on holding any options over the February 10th 
earnings report so we're only suggesting the February calls.

BUY CALL FEB 125 AET-BE OI=1963 current ask $5.70
BUY CALL FEB 130 AET-BY OI= 546 current ask $3.20
BUY CALL FEB 135 AET-BX OI= 290 current ask $1.50


Annotated Chart:


Picked on January xx at $ 00.00 <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked:     + 0.00
Earnings Date          02/10/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      2.2 million  
Chart =


---

Amgen Inc - AMGN - close: 64.87 change: +1.09 stop: 62.00

Company Description:
Amgen is a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops, 
manufactures and markets important human therapeutics based on 
advances in cellular and molecular biology.
(source: company press release)

Why We Like It:
We like AMGN for its recent relative strength and the improving 
technical picture.  Shares have been bouncing for the last five 
sessions and look ready to breakout from its five-week trading 
range over resistance at the $65 mark.  Meanwhile its bullish P&F 
chart points to an $89 target.  Yet before we continue we have to 
label this a speculative, higher-risk play.  There are just two 
weeks before AMGN's earnings report and we do not plan to hold 
over the event.  Furthermore AMGN's management just came out and 
said 2005 will be a tough year.  Fortunately, the market's 
ignored the negative comments and focused on a positive Barron's 
article.  Here's the plan: we want to use a TRIGGER over 
resistance at $65.00.  Our entry point will be $65.05.  There is 
some resistance at $67 but our target is the $69.50-70.00 range 
before AMGN's earnings. 

Suggested Options:
This is a short-term, two-week play.  We are suggesting the
February calls.

BUY CALL FEB 60 YAA-BL OI= 492 current ask $5.60
BUY CALL FEB 65 YAA-BM OI=7234 current ask $1.90
BUY CALL FEB 70 YAA-BN OI=2501 current ask $0.40

Annotated Chart:


Picked on January xx at $ 00.00 <-- see TRIGGER
Change since picked:     + 0.00
Earnings Date          01/26/05 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      7.3 million  
Chart =


---

Frontline Ltd - FRO - close: 46.06 chg: +1.39 stop: 42.49

Company Description:
FRONTLINE Ltd. is a major, Bermuda based, tanker company. The 
fleet, which is the largest and one of the most modern in the 
world, consists of 31 Suezmax tankers (of which 8 are Combination 
Carriers) and 35 VLCC tankers, totaling 15.3 million dead weight 
tons. The Company has also two VLCC new buildings to be delivered 
in 2006. (source: company press release)

Why We Like It:
We have been watching the bullish turnaround in oil prices but 
couldn't decide on a decent bullish candidate in the group to 
play any ramp up in oil.  Then we remembered that FRO was on our 
watch list this Monday for a breakout over the $45 level.  Shares 
have been crushed from a peak in late November but managed to 
bounce from the 200-dma near the $40 mark.  Now technicals are 
turning positive and its MACD has produced a new buy signal.  Not 
only can FRO benefit from a rise in crude prices but the recent 
earthquake in Indonesia has reshaped the shipping lanes that is 
driving prices higher for the shipping industry.  We want to go 
long at current levels and target a move toward $50-52 (maybe 
$55).  We can't find an earnings report but we suspect the next 
report would be due out in mid-February.  

Suggested Options:
We are going to suggest the February calls although May strikes
are available.

BUY CALL FEB 45 FRO-BI OI=430 current ask $3.90
BUY CALL FEB 50 FRO-BJ OI=174 current ask $1.75


Annotated Chart:


Picked on January 12 at $ 46.06
Change since picked:     + 0.00
Earnings Date          02/00/05 (unconfirmed)
Average Daily Volume =      1.1 million  
Chart =



********
NEW PUTS
********

None


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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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Option Investor Inc
PO Box 630350
Littleton, CO 80163

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