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  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  3:59:05 PM
I just took a look at the European markets in relationship to their 50-dma's. At 3404.91, the DAX today closed beneath its 50-dma at 3459.50. At 4270.10, the FTSE 100 closed above its 50-dma at 4205.82. At 3281.36, the CAC closed just below its 50-dma at 3271.50.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  3:54:08 PM
As of a few minutes ago, total volume was 846 million shares traded on the NYSE and 1.2 billion on the Nasdaq. Adv:dec ratios remained positive, at 20:12 for the NYSE and 19:12 for the Nasdaq. New highs vs. new lows remained strongly bullish, at 563 new highs and 11 new lows. Up volume was more than double down volume on the NYSE, and about 2.6 times down volume on the Nasdaq. Ordinarily, I would say that the inability to equal Friday's highs with such bullish internals might be a negative sign, but I'm going to hold off making any such pronouncements due to today's light volume.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  3:40:47 PM
03:15 Update posted at this Link

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  3:36:11 PM
Back to standard and familiar tools: the OEX appears to have dropped beneath a symmetrical triangle on the five-minute OEX chart, and to be rising to test the broken support now. Link Lately, we've seen a lot of similar supposed breaks of support result in a sideways trade and then a resumption of the climb. Anything can happen in the light volume, too, but this would normally be a short-term bearish event.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  3:26:03 PM
One of our knowledgeable subscribers wrote suggesting that Donchian channels with different intervals can be placed on the same graph and that when the shorter-term Donchian channel broke away from the longer-term one, the trade was taken in the direction of the shorter-term channel's movement. I haven't tried that, so I'm certainly not suggesting that you implement these trades now, but I have in the past tried using different envelope settings superimposed on the same graph. While that was somewhat useful, the constant width of the channel perhaps made it not as useful as the same experiment might be on a different channel that varied in width according to some parameter, such as the Kelner's variation based on average true range or the BB's based on a standard deviation.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  3:06:51 PM
Another type of channel or envelope is the Keltner channel, developed by Chester Keltner. A Keltner channel does not stay constant like an envelope, but instead expands or contracts like a Bollinger band. The envelope is calculated by adding or subtracting twice the average true range from the chosen central moving average, rather than calculating the standard deviation from that moving average as does the Bollinger band. Like the envelope, the idea is to choose a value for the Keltner channel that produces only a few instances when that channel is pierced. My searches turned up opposing information on what happens if the channel is pierced, but on closer examination, perhaps the information isn't contradictory after all. One source said that if a channel is pierced on a closing basis, the movement is likely to continue in that direction. Another said that if a Keltner Channel is pierced, but that the price moves back inside the channel, the movement is likely to reverse and the central average or opposing side of the channel is likely to be tested. Here's the OEX 60-minute chart with a Keltner Channel. Link Based on the information I read, this channel should probably be expanded, as the OEX appears to be piercing it with some regularity. Again, I'm not an expert on Keltner Channels, having never used them. I'm only using today's low-volume churning to investigate different tools I can't investigate when the action is fast.

  Jane Fox   10/6/200,  2:52:47 PM
Stockcharts.com has now added price projections to their PnF charts.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  2:46:40 PM
S&P Banks Index (BIX.X) 316.19 +1.13% .... moving above Friday's highs here and now looking to test its 52-week high set on July 14 of 317.94.

Bank we've had eye on for break above $40 has Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) $39.91 +1.94% probing session high.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  2:27:23 PM
Reader Request: Linda, I recall [AMHC] was an OI play and see it has dropped big today with no news. Do you have news sources that say anything?

Response: I'm not part of the pick team for the OI equity options plays, but I checked the list and couldn't find AMHC. Perhaps it was a past play or it was dropped ahead of earnings? I've been searching but haven't been able to find a reason for the precipitous drop. I do note that the company is scheduled to release earnings on Thursday, so perhaps the drop has something to do with anticipated earnings? I couldn't find news from a competitor today to explain the drop, either, though.

The drop confirmed a double-top formation that has a downside target of about $35.00, but that it's bouncing from its 30-dma. The drop took the stock into the gap from the middle of July, with its current $40.50 price near the top of that gap. RSI dove with today's drop, of course, and the daily 21(3)3 stochastics made a bearish kiss, but haven't fully turned down from overbought levels. OBV had been strong lately, although it's dipping down slightly today, of course. The $35.00 level offers possible support from several means--a rising trendline that began forming in February and the bottom of that gap from the middle of July.

It's possible to look at today's action several ways. The precipitous drop is troubling and confirmed a double top, predicting a fall down to $35.00. With this action just ahead of earnings, I'd be wary of this stock. Something's not right in Denmark. However, it's also possible to look at the strong OBV, the pronounced bounce from the 30-dma, and the move back to the top of the gap as a gap test that succeeded in showing the gap holding as support. I'm just not sure because something is at work here that I don't understand. If this reader is in a long position, stops were probably established when the position was entered, and I'd certainly suggest honoring them under these conditions.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  2:22:40 PM
Short squeeze alert on Netflix (NFLX) $42.10 +4.9% Link .... stock jumped to new 52-week high in last 5-minutes. Saw volume spike of of 93,425 shares in recent 5-minutes.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  1:55:56 PM
Donchian channels are another type of channels provided on Q-charts. I've never used them, but according to the information I found, they were developed by Richard Donchian. They're based on the highest high and the lowest low in the time period intervals covered, and would be used differently than BB's or envelopes. It's a break-out system, so you want to trade the breakouts of the channel. Look for prices that close above the channel to go long and exit short positions, and for prices that close below the channel to go short and exit long positions. However, I used the default figures Q-chart used, and I'm not seeing many signals. I tested it across many time frames, and I'm just not finding many closes above or below the channel: Link

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  1:43:07 PM
Many of you are familiar with Bollinger bands and their use. You may also know that lately I've been watching how the OEX trades in relationship to an envelope that's a percentage distance above and below a central average. Because it's a percentage difference, the envelope always maintains a steady width, as long as you keep that percentage distance the same. Ideally, the width of the envelope is set so that the OEX (or market being studied) pierces the envelope band only occasionally, with those piercings giving signals to enter a trade bearish trade when the OEX pierces the upper envelope and then moves back inside or a bullish trade when it pierces the lower envelope and moves back inside: Link

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  1:42:51 PM
01:00 Update posted at this Link

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  1:32:12 PM
Here's the Andrews Pitchfork chart I first posted at 12:20 this morning, as the OEX first headed up to test the handle of the pitchfork: Link

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  1:12:20 PM
Here's an Andrews Pitchfork added to the chart linked to my 12:57 post, perhaps offering a different explanation for the downturn, other than that trendline I hadn't expected to be consequential. Link I'm not sure how much I'll use the Andrews Pitchfork, but investigating different technical analysis tools is a valuable way to spend days like today. It's a good way to keep you from trading on days you shouldn't be trading, too, so it serves a dual purpose.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  1:01:57 PM
Jeff, that's interesting coordinating the Andrews Pitchfork with your 5MRT system, using the 5MRT system to give a bias to how the pitchfork should be positioned. (See Jeff's 12:55 post.) Maybe we need some of these low-volume, non-trading days to give us time to investigate different tools we can't investigate in the heat of battle.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  12:57:38 PM
The OEX currently trades near the bullish #2 on Jeff's 5MRT system, actually a few cents over that level, but it's also dealing with this trendline: Link I wouldn't think that trendline would still be consequential, but apparently it is. Maybe I should apply an Andrews Pitchfork to this?

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  12:55:59 PM
OEX chart similar to Linda's 12:34.40, but adding 5-minute retracement. Link

Like Linda, I know little about Andrews Pitchfork, but interesting comments from Linda regarding intra-day trend.

I was wondering if I should take pitchfork from Friday's afternoon high and then its low, but trade at BLUE #2 before a trade at RED #2 hints of more bullish bias, so following Linda's chart with the pitchfork. Mid-point of upward trending pitchfork gives midpoint intersecting BLUE #4 at 518.77.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  12:34:40 PM
Here's what happened as the OEX price hit the handle of the Andrews Pitchfork, mentioned in my 12:20 post: Link

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  12:30:05 PM
Sector action continues to edge positive. Only sectors I show in the red are HMO Index (HMO.X) 730 -1.35%, Pharmaceutical (DRG.X) 315.55 -0.1% and Biotech (BTK.X) 469.84 -0.02% in a very light volume session for Yom Kippur.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  12:20:14 PM
I've been spending my time this morning trying to learn more about indicators that I rarely use. Andrews Pitchfork is a drawing tool offered on Q-charts, but one I've never used. Apparently, it was developed in the late 1930's by Dr. Andrews, and the tool establishes a central line and then two parallel trendlines on either side. Like Bollinger bands and their central MA, Dr. Andrews found that when price hit the central trendline or "handle" of the pitchfork, it either tended to reverse and move back toward the outer trendline on the same side, or else it moved across the handle and moved to the opposite outer trendline. Here's an OEX five-minute chart with Andrews Pitchfork used: Link Note: I'm just using my time to experiment this morning. I'm no expert on using this tool, but only mentioned it because I've always wondered how it was used and thought others might be interested, too.

  Jane Fox   10/6/200,  12:00:10 PM
I used to live in Carlsbad NM and flew on MESA many times (Jeff's 11:51 post). I had to almost crawl to my seat for I was too tall to stand in the airplane (I am 5'4") and surely lost about two years off my life. Frightening experience.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  11:56:26 AM
The OEX now moves back toward the 30-minute 21-pma. So far, it has not fallen into its Friday morning gap. Nor has it tested the averages I wanted to see it test--the 60-minute 21-pma or 100- and 130-pma's. The 30-minute MACD continues to try to flatten above signal and CCI appears to be turning up slightly. If you squint just right at the 30-minute RSI, you can see a slight uptick in value. However, be careful of trusting much of what's happening today on such slight volume.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  11:51:33 AM
Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACAI) $10.96 +21.5% Link ... higher after Mesa Air's (MESA) $11.69 -6.8% Link board made a proposal to ACAI to combine the two regional carriers, which would create the leading operator in the regional airline industry, with nearly 300 aircraft and broad reach across major U.S. markets. MESA offered 0.9 shares of MESA for each share of ACAI. Based on Friday's closing value of MESA, the offer was valued at roughly $11.30 per ACAI share.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  11:39:43 AM
Disk Drive Index (DDX.X) 136.21 +2.02% Link ... tech-sector winner early and looks to test recent 52-week highs of 137 set in mid-September. M-Systems (FLSH) $20.03 +8.82% Link continues to impress after recent triple-top buy signal at $18.00 and today's sector leader. Fellow flash-memory SanDisk (NASDAQ:SNDK) $71.46 +0.39% Link up fractions, but closing in on its current bullish vertical count of $75.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  11:28:33 AM
11:00 Update posted at this Link

  Ray Cummins   10/6/200,  11:13:52 AM
Spreads/Combos & Premium-Selling -- E-Mail Replies (part II)

Since the recent activity in BVF did not allow a normal exit or adjustment, any trade you make now will be based on the current (revised) outlook for the underlying issue and the ratio of potential gain to additional risk. With regard to specific exit/adjustment strategies, there are a few ways to limit potential losses or even capitalize on a reversal (or transition) to a new trend. When trading bullish credit spreads, there are three common methods to exit or cover a losing position and the alternatives range from "legging-out" or rolling into a long-term spread to "shorting" the underlying issue. First, you can simply close the position at a debit and register the loss. There is also another popular technique; covering (by shorting the stock) the sold option as the stock moves through the short (put) strike. Although it won't work as well in this situation (since the issue has already declined sharply), this technique is a good method for bailing out on an issue in which the trend or technical character has changed significantly due to news or events.

Another option, albeit less useful now, is to "roll-out" of the spread for profit or at least a "break-even" exit. To roll-out of a credit spread, place an order to close the short option anytime the stocks trades (and preferably closes) below technical support or a well-established trend line (or moving average) on heavy volume. There are certainly more precise signals that can be used but this simple technique is based on the probability that once a reversal has occurred, the stock should continue to move in that direction. After the sold (short) option is repurchased, wait for the new trend to lose momentum and sell the long position to close the entire play. It may seem like a difficult technique to perform when emotion enters the formula but it works well once you become experienced at it. The key to success is using the method at known support levels or after obvious reversal signals, otherwise you are simply speculating about the stock's next move.

  Ray Cummins   10/6/200,  11:04:56 AM
Spreads/Combos & Premium-Selling -- E-Mail Replies

(condensed) Help! I have an open put spread in Biovail (BVF) and the sell-off Friday has resulted in a huge loss. Your thoughts on a repair strategy would be greatly appreciated. Or just general thoughts on what to do with a bull put spread when there's a huge drop in the price of the underlying stock with no warning.

Here are the current prices (10/5/03) for the stock and the spread you selected:

BVF - $31.10
BVF-VF Oct03-30P 0.70 X 0.80
BVF-VG Oct03-35P 3.90 X 4.30

The net loss is (approx) $3.50 at the current time. Not a good thing! A major contributing factor to your dilemma is the gap-down in BVF that occurred Friday after the company warned that "lower revenues from key products would reduce third-quarter earnings." There was also news about a traffic accident involving a truck that was carrying millions of $$$ of Wellbutrin. Almost unbelievable!

Anyway, the problem with gapping issues is they leave no opportunity to make the normal adjustments that limit losses in these types of plays. As you know, a spread trader has many different alternatives when the underlying issue moves beyond the sold strike price in a combination position. Unfortunately, for your situation, the appropriate action should be taken prior to that event, when the issue experiences a technical change in character (such as breaking-out of a trading range or closing above/below a moving average).

Most methods for preventing losses -- which generally means making specific position adjustments or rolling up/down and out to new options -- fit into one of two categories: a pre-arranged target profit or loss limit; or a technical exit based on the chart indications of the issue. The first technique; using a mechanical or mental closing STOP to terminate a play or initiate a roll-out, is simple as long as you adhere to the initially established limits. The alternative method; a technicals-based exit, is more difficult but there are a variety of different indicators available to establish an acceptable exit point; moving averages, trend-lines, previous highs/lows, etc. and with this type of loss-limiting system, you simply exit the play after a violation of a pre-determined level.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  11:02:59 AM
The five-minute bear flag broke down, and the OEX either rises to test the broken support or else it's just setting up one of those days when it meanders around from one level to another. Usually when that happens, I've noticed that the OEX is oscillating over and under either its 30-minute or 60-minute 21-pma. Today, it's the 30-minute 21-pma, currently located at 516.10. That MA had been moving up late last week, but may now be showing the slightest propensity to flatten. However, the 30-minute MACD had been moving down since Friday afternoon, and now is trying to flatten above signal. The 30-minute CCI also appears to be trying to flatten just above zero. RSI is always the first to react out of these indicators, and it's been flat all day! This is all happening as the OEX is poised just above Friday morning's gap. We need to wait until some of these indicators align themselves or at least decide on their own directions before we draw too many conclusions about direction.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  10:47:51 AM
As of a few minutes ago, total volume was an extremely low 199 million on the NYSE and 330 million on the Nasdaq. Advancers had the lead, with adv:dec ratios at 16:12 for the NYSE and Nasdaq, too. New highs measured more than 300, while there were zero new lows on the NYSE and 7 on the Nasdaq. Up volume was more than double down volume on the Nasdaq, but higher by a smaller percentage on the NYSE. As much as my fingers might be itching, I'm not putting on any trades in this low-volume environment. Famous last words, right?

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  10:44:00 AM
The five-minute OEX bear flag has broken down, but there's been no precipitous fall. The OEX has not yet declined to Friday's afternoon low, nor to Friday's opening level, the low of the day and the top of the gap. We'll have to see what happens, but perhaps we'll at least get a test of the 60-minute 21-pma at 512.71, near the middle of Friday morning's gap.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  10:22:40 AM
The pattern on the OEX five-minute chart still appears to be a bear flag, with the OEX currently testing the bottom support of that bear flag, but I again warn that these low-volume days are the ones when we'll see a classic pattern set up, break the way it's supposed to break, and then suddenly the market shoots the other direction with no warning. Be careful. However, if this flag does break to the downside, that gap and those averages I'm watching today are likely to be tested. I'd love to see another test of the 60-minute 100- and 130-pma's, each just above 509.60, but I'm not sure whether the OEX will decline that far or will get stopped in the 511.50-512 area, at least temporarily.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  10:09:00 AM
I agree with Jim and Jane's assessment of the volume today, and with Jim's assessment of the dangers of trading in this low-volume environment. That's why part of my plan for the week included not trading today unless the volume surprised me and was higher than I expected. It doesn't appear that it's going to be. Today might be a good day to learn more about that new aspect of technical analysis you've always wanted to study or tinker with your oscillator settings and see if you discover something you like. Study some of the scans Stockcharts.com offers for free to see which stocks might interest you on either the bearish or bullish side: Link Watch the Market Carpet at Stockcharts.com for free, learning which sectors are strong and which are weak: Link

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  10:04:57 AM
Rambus (RMBS) $21.22 +13% Link ... spike higher in last 5-minutes after U.S. top court rejects Infineon's appeal versus RMBS over computer chip patents.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  9:57:31 AM
The current OEX five-minute pattern looks a lot like a bear-flag pattern rising into the 517.80-518 resistance zone. If the OEX continues to hold above Friday morning's gap, however, bulls might take heart and send the OEX above that resistance zone and back toward Friday's highs. Beyond 520 lies the 523 resistance zone.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  9:52:28 AM
Research in Motion (RIMM) $43.29 +3.42% Link .... Merrill raising price target on RIMM to $48 given Merrill's view that RIMM is experiencing robust growth and believes it is appropriate to apply a higher than average multiple of 6-times its FY05 estimate, which is a little over a year out.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  9:43:57 AM
The OEX did come back up to retest the 50% retracement of the first five-minute move, falling back from that level. That continues the suggestion of early weakness, but we should know more after the first retracement that begins about now. Last Friday morning, I kept expecting the OEX to retest the big gap up and establish support somewhere within that gap, or else show enough weakness that the top, middle, and bottom of the gap could not provide support. That didn't happen Friday, but perhaps we'll see the gap tested today. It's still too early to be sure, and I would be especially careful about drawing conclusions today if volume continues to be light.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  9:35:16 AM
The first five-minute OEX range was from a high of 516.41 and a low of 515.36. The 50% retracement of that first five-minute range lies at 515.89, and we can watch this figure for signs of early strength or weakness. Currently, the OEX trades below this level, spending much of the first five minutes below this level, so the earliest signs point to some initial weakness, but it's too early to consider that evidence conclusive.

  Jeff Bailey   10/6/200,  9:20:32 AM
09:00 Update posted at this Link

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  9:12:58 AM
Swing Trade Signals
Jim mentioned this weekend that we should come into this week's trading with a plan, and I definitely have one. Last weekend I did, too, and that plan was to wait for a test of the 60-minute 100- and 130-pma's, and then enter the market based on the OEX's behavior around those averages. That plan turned out to be a good one, but the test came late in the day before important economic numbers the next morning, so I didn't take the entry. Other entries were not so ideal and so were stopped. There were actually solid reasons behind each entry with the possible exception of Friday afternoon's entry, but they didn't follow the plan.

Here's my plan for this week. First, because I had several failed plays last week, I'm not going to issue official signals until that record has improved again. I will, however, issue unofficial signals, but I don't want any entries automatically triggered. I want you to make the decision to follow me into a trade or not follow. Second, I do not plan to trade today unless volume proves heavier than I anticipate it will on this holiday for some traders and readers. These markets can be difficult enough without the crazy swings precipitated by weak volume.

The last part of my plan again concerns a testing of averages. Friday's candle gapped up and then finished with a bearish candle with a long upper shadow. That bearish candle and the unfilled gap both hint that we'll see a retest of former resistance, seeing if it now holds as support. In addition, the 30-minute and 60-minute indicators hint that there's more downside. Where will that test occur? At this time, I believe it will occur somewhere between 509.50-511.50. The 21-dma lies at 511.44, a level that is also near the bottom of the unfilled gap and near the 60-minute 21-pma at 511.57. That's where I expect the first entrenchment. If that level fails to hold as support, the 60-minute 100- and 130-pma's now lie at 509.54 and 509.36, respectively. We'll want to be in a bearish position if the OEX tests the 60-minute 100- and 130-pma's and falls beneath them. We'll want to be in a bullish position if it tests them and rises or else if it finds support near 511.50 instead and climbs from there. While in bullish plays, we should always remain aware of the seasonal patterns, honoring our stops.

  Linda Piazza   10/6/200,  7:05:32 AM
Good morning. The Japanese markets liked the U.S. employment numbers from Friday. The Nikkei opened above 10,800 in Monday's trading, with exporters gaining on hopes that the improved U.S. jobs numbers would translate into higher sales of goods exported to the U.S. Soon climbing to 10,900, the Nikkei then dropped lower throughout the rest of the trading day, closing near the day's low but managing to stay positive. The Nikkei closed up 30.85 points or 0.29%, at 10,740.14.

Most other Asian bourses closed higher, too, although China's Shanghai Composite was closed for a holiday. The Taiwan Weighted rose 1.80%, and South Korea's Kospi also rose over 1%, up 1.10%. Singapore's Straits Times rose 2.85%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.08%.

Many European bourses trade lower or near the flatline, however, with CNBC Europe attributing the lower bourses to light volume on today's Yom Kippur and nervousness ahead of earnings. Today has been a typical M&A Monday in London, with UK television broadcasters Granada and Carlton Communications due to hear from regulators this week whether their merger plans will be approved. A newspaper reported that British Airways will again explore a merger with American Airlines if the KLM/Air France merger gains approval from regulators.

As of this writing, the FTSE 100 trades flat, down 0.30 points or 0.01%, at 4273.70. The CAC 40 has lost 9.13 points or 0.28%, to trade at 3287.23. The DAX trades down 14.72 points or 0.43%, at 3404.28.

  Jeff Bailey   10/5/200,  11:23:26 PM
Past 3-weeks Pivot Matrix ... Link

  Jeff Bailey   10/5/200,  11:23:12 PM
Pivot Matrix for next week at this Link

What I think happened late this afternoon, short of the market knowing somethng about a nuclear test by North Korea that I'm not aware of, is that we may have seen the decline into the close being created by this "short-term mutual fund trade," where fund managers may indeed be in a mode of trying to pad yearly results on a short-term basis, but not willing to commit larger amount of capital to any type of trending move. I can almost here it.... "Sell me some strength at 1,030." Traders let the markets rally, feed some stock out short on the move higher, then place the sell orders at around 02:45 PM EDT, with a mark to close right back near 1,030.

The reason I think this is that it is just too suspicious to me that we see the SPX close right at this 1,029 (see PINK boxes at MONTHLY R1, and DAILY Pivot)area discussed in last night's wrap. I probably should have been more alert to this, especially when making comments about the QQQ at 14:51:11.

Support should be strong back at the monthly pivot, but I think shorter-term bulls want to see some strength early Monday back above the DAILY pivots of SPX/OEX. WEEKLY R1's look to be in play for bulls with near-term support at the WEEKLY Pivots.

  OI Technical Staff   10/5/200,  11:22:46 PM
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