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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 02/19/2004

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PremierInvestor.net Newsletter                 Thursday 02-19-2004
                                                    section 1 of 2
Copyright (c) 2004, All rights reserved.
Redistribution in any form is strictly prohibited.

The entire newsletter is best viewed in COURIER 10 for alignment
=================================================================

In section one:

Market Wrap:      Conviction Test
Market Sentiment: A Change in the wind?
Watch List:       AAP, SFA, WMB, ABT


=================================================================
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
=================================================================
      02-19-2004           High     Low     Volume Advance/Decline
DJIA    10664.73 -  7.30 10753.63 10656.59 1.96 bln   1189/2040
NASDAQ   2045.96 - 30.50  2094.92  2045.96 2.07 bln   1128/2036
S&P 100   566.06 -  2.27   571.62   565.83   Totals   2317/4076
S&P 500  1147.06 -  4.76  1158.57  1146.83
W5000   11176.92 - 60.40 11302.82 11174.80
RUS 2000  582.59 -  8.89   596.00   582.38
DJ TRANS 2892.80 -  8.30  2933.37  2892.67
VIX        15.80 +  0.21    15.97    15.20
VXO (VIX-O)16.90 +  1.16    16.90    15.46
VXN        24.24 +  0.51    24.55    23.16
Total Volume 4,386M
Total UpVol  1,116M
Total DnVol  3,170M
Total Adv  2672
Total Dcl  4591
52wk Highs  507
52wk Lows    10
TRIN       0.88
NAZTRIN    2.25
PUT/CALL   0.72
=================================================================

===========
Market Wrap
===========

Conviction Test

Good earnings news breaking out all over but economics are
not following the plan. The combination of these factors in
an option expiration week turned into new highs and a strong
drop from those highs. This created a test of conviction for
those already long and a buying opportunity for those who
still want to be long.

Dow Chart - Daily



Nasdaq Chart - daily



The fly in the ointment for investors was the Philly Fed
Survey which dropped to 31.4 from 38.8 last month. This was
the 8th consecutive month in positive territory but a major
drop from last months high. The internal components were not
exciting with New Orders falling to 27.8 from 36.5. Shipments
fell to only 19.3 from 33.1. Back orders fell into the low
single digits at 4.4 from 10.7 and was the second month of
declines. Employment fell to only 12.5 from 17.5 and was
also the second monthly decline. Prices paid rose to 43.7
from 35.3 and prices received jumped from 9.4 to 18.9. The
picture was very clear. Orders, production and employment
fell while prices showed a significant inflationary jump.
The only really positive component was the jump in the
average workweek to 23.6 from 12.9. This suggests companies
are trying to make do with existing workers and at some point
they will have to hire if hours worked continues to rise.
Inventories also rose for the first time in five months.
Could that have been on purpose or because sales suddenly
shrank? The prices paid component reached a nine-year high
and it was the seventh monthly increase. This trend was
also seen in the NY Empire Survey earlier this week.

Jobless Claims fell more than expected to 344,000 and back
under the 350K level again. However, claims for last week
were revised upward by +5,000 to 368K. The four-week average
rose to 352,000 and the highest level since December. The
bad news here was a significant jump in continuing claims
to 3.186 million from 3.08 million. Most analysts suggested
the jump was weather related but I miss the connection. This
report was a neutral for the market despite the minor relief
bounce in the futures when it was released.

Leading Indicators rose by +0.5% and inline with expectations.
Considering this number is composed of already released data
from other reports including jobless claims, stock market and
bond data is should be called the lagging indicators. Only
five of the ten components showed any gains but this was
the biggest jump since October. It is mostly ignored since
the data is already old.

The biggest news of the day was old news and that was the
AMAT/BRCM boost to the chip sector. The earnings news for
the day was less than exciting. Wal-Mart said an excellent
January pulled the 4Q out of mediocre territory and turned
it into a double digit quarter. Wal-Mart said the holiday
period was challenging and it had to result to deep discounts
to move apparel. WMT posted 63 cents and inline with estimates
and said strength in international sales and a resurgence
at Sam's Club helped WMT meet expectations. CEO Lee Scott
said 2003 was not a great year and he was much more
optimistic about 2004. Sales for the quarter hit $74.49B.
The bad news for other retailers was a new commitment to
be the low price leader in 2004 and he reiterated they were
not going to raise prices to increase profits.

Competitor Target beat the street by four cents and posted
a 91 cent profit. Sales were only a fraction of Wal-Mart's
at $15.57B but were inline with estimates. The better results
were do to higher gross margins and improved product mix.
Credit card operations added +$641 million in profits to
the total. Considering how stores like Sears have been
fleeing the credit card business this is remarkable.

After the bell today HPQ formally announced their earnings
of 35 cents which they preannounced without warning last
week. The market was less than impressed with the inline
guidance. The number of companies reporting has slowed to
a trickle but most are still beating estimates. These
companies beat tonight, UVN +1, JWN +8, BEAS +1, OCLR +1,
PTEK +1, SRNA +1. Unfortunately most guided inline with
estimates or slightly down. The quality of companies this
late in the cycle precludes much in the way of blowout
guidance.

The conviction of those long was tested today after the
Dow set a new 52-week high at 10753 and the Nasdaq came
very close to 2100 at 2094. The worst performer was the
Russell at -1.50% with the Nasdaq close behind at -1.46%.
The Nasdaq closed down over -30 points after being up
+17 at the open. The range of movement was nearly 50
points but the majority of it was down. After the gap
open there was never a serious attempt to move higher
for the Nasdaq but the Dow hit its highs as late as 2:PM.

The Dow gapped up to 10725 and after a brief pullback
rallied to 10750 twice about two hours apart beginning
shortly after noon. The Dow showed amazing strength until
the crash but the Nasdaq and Russell bled points from the
start. At 3:20 all the markets imploded with the Dow
dropping nearly -80 points in just under 30 min. The
Russell fell -8 points from 2:30 into the close. The
initial selling in the small caps and techs with the
Dow remaining so strong appeared to be rotation into the
blue chips. I remarked in the monitor at the time that it
appeared to be a rotation in progress and we could have a
significant dip ahead.

The conviction part comes tomorrow. The Nasdaq has nearly
completed another test of its 50dma currently at 2040 and
that retest has come on the heels of a lower high. This
is a bad sign and could suggest the retest may not hold
on the initial try. There is still strong support at 2000
and the 100dma is rapidly rising to meet the price at
that 2000 level. Currently the 100dma is 1980. Buyers
with probably have their conviction tested again on Friday
as those levels are targeted. Make no mistake this is a
serious support test for the Nasdaq. A failure at 2000
could be very dangerous.

There are two wild cards in play here. The first is Option
Expiration on Friday. This massive swing from new highs to
retesting support on Thursday could have been the result
of option positions being squared. The last two months
we have had strong opex rallies and traders could have
overshot for February and produced a negative bias to the
settlements. This could continue through Friday.

The second wild card is the Dow. The Dow has not tested
its 50dma since November. It is way over due despite the
current bullish sentiment. Fear of a Dow correction could
keep buyers on the sidelines until some stability appears.
Fortunately for the Dow to retest the 50dma at 10439 it
will have to break several levels of strong support at
10650, 10600 and 10550. This is not likely to happen in
one day and may not happen at all.

The spark for the entire morning rally was AMAT and BRCM.
Both opened much higher and then closed negative for the
day. AMAT hit 23.86 at the open and closed at 22.14 and
the low for the day. BRCM hit a high of $44 and closed at
$41.56. The SOX hit a high for the month at 535 and then
closed -20 points lower at 515. This was a huge reversal
in the semiconductor stocks and it is no wonder the Nasdaq
and Russell followed suit. The SOX closed right on its
50dma but that has not been real support. The SOX has
performed better in recent weeks from the 100dma now at
501.

Semiconductor Sector (SOX) Chart - Daily


Russell 2000 - Chart



Late tonight the Semiconductor Book-to-Bill was released
for January and it came in at 1.18 and a drop from the
1.23 final for December. This was the sixth monthly rise
for semiconductor orders and the ratio would have been
higher but shipments rose +8.2% compared to only a rise
of +3.7% for orders. This is very good news for the sector
but the late release of the numbers tends to be overlooked
by most investors. This could slow any chip selling on
Friday if it makes the headlines.

The bottom line to all this mumbo jumbo is that we are
likely to see the Nasdaq/SOX take another dip down on
Friday and that dip could continue into next week due to
a lack of further catalysts for February. This is the
buying opportunity that all tech bulls should be excited
about. At least those with conviction for their position.
If the afternoon downdraft was options related then the
dip should be brief. However, the Nasdaq was the laggard
all week and we need to see how it performs on Monday
before making any judgment calls.

The only material economic report on Friday is the CPI
and that is before the market opens. As a trader tonight
I would suggest not opening any new long positions until
Monday. Option expiration Friday's are usually wild and
crazy at the open followed by total boredom. With the
potential for more selling and the ever present weekend
event risk I would wait for Monday to go bargain shopping.
Even then it could be risky because next week is filled
with economic reports that could mimic the Philly Fed
today. This is a risky period for February but any
weakness should simply be more consolidation in the
current range. You are going to get tired of hearing
that but until the range breaks it is still true. The
range on the Nasdaq is still 2000-2100 and 10450-10700
on the Dow. Take Friday off and make it a three-day
weekend. Come back next week ready to pick up some
bargains at a discount.

Enter Passively, Exit Aggressively.

Jim Brown
Editor


===============================
Market Sentiment
===============================

A Change in the wind?
-J. Brown

Is investor sentiment changing?  The markets rallied on good news
this morning after Wal-Mart and Applied Materials issued positive
earnings reports.  WMT, a Dow component, helped lead the Dow to a
new 32-month high.  AMAT, a component of the NASDAQ-100 and the
SOX index, also traded strongly higher this morning only to give
it all back and more by the close.  It is this reversal in techs
that is disturbing.  Most of the tech sector indices were trading
higher for the first half of the session but a late day reversal
washed over the entire group.  Actually, the reversal hit the
entire market.  Not one sector closed near its highs save for the
XAU gold & silver index and only this pared its losses from the
morning as investors moved into gold in self defense. For the
markets to turn lower on good news may signal a change in
direction, even if it's just a short-term change.

Looking more closely at the sector indices I notice the Dow
Transports are looking pretty weak after their recent failure
under the 50-dma.  You've heard it before.  Traditional Dow
theory states that we can't have an extended rally without the
Transports participating and right now they look ready to lead
the markets lower.

I would go into more detail about the reversal in the various
tech sectors but they all look the same.  The selling picked up
strongly in the afternoon and frankly the whole market looks
poised to trade lower tomorrow morning.  Market internals were
bearish with declining stocks outnumbering advancing stocks
nearly 18 to 10 on the NYSE and 2 to 1 on the NASDAQ.  Down
volume was almost double up volume on the NYSE and more than four
times up volume on the NASDAQ.

Buckle your seat belts and store you tray tables in the upright
position.  Tomorrow could be a volatile option expiration Friday.


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

Market Averages

DJIA ($INDU)

52-week High: 10753
52-week Low :  7416
Current     : 10664

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 10639
 50-dma: 10439
200-dma:  9609



S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1158
52-week Low :  788
Current     : 1147

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1146
 50-dma: 1119
200-dma: 1033



Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 1559
52-week Low :  938
Current     : 1484

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1495
 50-dma: 1481
200-dma: 1347


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

We have an interesting development in the volatility indices.
The VXO added 7.3% today on the market sell-off.  More
importantly it seems to have set a new higher low, which could be
forecasting a trend change.

CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) = 15.80 +0.21
CBOE Mkt Volatility old VIX  (VXO) = 16.90 +1.16
Nasdaq Volatility Index (VXN)      = 24.24 +0.51

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

          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume

Total          0.72      1,242,874       890,484
Equity Only    0.59        953,805       560,338
OEX            1.58         39,892        62,931
QQQ            2.67         65,589       175,182


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

Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          77.6    + 0     Bull Confirmed
NASDAQ-100    69.0    - 1     Bear Alert
Dow Indust.   86.7    + 0     Bull Confirmed
S&P 500       87.6    - 1     Bull Confirmed
S&P 100       89.0    + 0     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: 1.01
10-dma: 0.95
21-dma: 0.99
55-dma: 0.99


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


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

Market Internals

            -NYSE-   -NASDAQ-
Advancers    1043      1042
Decliners    1794      2012

New Highs     327       243
New Lows       11        11

Up Volume    690M      366M
Down Vol.   1177M     1655M

Total Vol.  1914M     2040M
M = millions


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

Commitments Of Traders Report: 02/10/04

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

No change for the Commercial traders.  Small Traders have
grown slightly more bullish.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
01/23/04      422,135   407,626    14,509     1.7%
01/27/04      417,089   410,930     6,159     0.7%
02/03/04      411,920   414,596    (2,676)   (0.3%)
02/10/04      412,217   414,044    (1,827)   (0.2%)

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
01/23/04      141,107   100,090    41,017    17.0%
01/27/04      143,089    87,828    55,261    23.9%
02/03/04      141,465    81,926    59,539    26.7%
02/10/04      143,496    80,362    63,134    28.2%

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

Commercials are starting to put some money to work and we're
seeing another jump in contracts for both longs and shorts.
Small traders have pared back their longs a bit and put some
of that money on the short side.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
01/23/04      233,867   307,122    (73,255)  (13.5%)
01/27/04      291,166   334,618    (43,452)  ( 6.9%)
02/03/04      280,519   346,042    (65,523)  (10.5%)
02/10/04      297,601   356,630    (59,029)  ( 9.0%)

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

Small Traders Long      Short      Net     % of OI
01/23/04     187,270     57,196   130,074    53.2%
01/27/04     154,485     60,556    93,929    43.7%
02/03/04     133,293     55,476    77,817    41.2%
02/10/04     110,480     58,428    52,052    30.8%

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


NASDAQ-100

Not much change from the Commercial traders but they are
a tiny bit more bullish here.  Small Traders have significantly
bumped up their long positions.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
01/23/04       42,823     39,442     3,381    4.1%
01/27/04       43,704     40,951     2,753    3.3%
02/03/04       43,600     41,441     2,159    2.5%
02/10/04       44,406     40,439     3,967    4.7%

Most bearish reading of the year: (21,858)  - 08/26/03
Most bullish reading of the year:   9,068   - 06/11/02

Small Traders  Long     Short      Net     % of OI
01/23/04        9,180    11,371    (2,191)  (10.7%)
01/27/04       10,137    10,715    (  578)  ( 2.8%)
02/03/04        8,907    13,729    (4,822)  (21.3%)
02/10/04        9,906    13,018    (3,112)  (13.6%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (10,769) - 06/11/02
Most bullish reading of the year:  19,088  - 01/21/02

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL

Not much change this week for Commercials.  Small traders
are slightly more bearish on the Dow.


Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
01/23/04       16,403     9,252    7,151      27.9%
01/27/04       16,536     8,404    8,162      32.7%
02/03/04       17,765     9,619    8,146      29.7%
02/10/04       21,764    11,974    9,790      29.0%

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
01/23/04        6,068    10,183   (4,115)   (25.3%)
01/27/04        7,240    12,372   (5,132)   (26.2%)
02/03/04        6,352    13,113   (6,761)   (34.7%)
02/10/04        6,267    14,220   (7,953)   (38.8%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (10,136) - 12/16/03
Most bullish reading of the year:   8,523  -  8/26/03

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


==================================================================
WATCH LIST
==================================================================

The PremierInvestor.net watch list is not designed to be read
as full fledged stock picks.  Rather we would prefer to offer
it as an extra tool in today's investor toolbox.  Think of it
as a radar screen with your own radar operator pointing out
interesting developments, technical patterns or potential plays
that you may or may not have seen on your own.  Due to time
constraints we do glance at the news but rarely do we have
time to fully read pertinent news stories, due background
research and other necessary screens that investors should do
before making a decision.  A common exercise is to read the
entry, glance at the sector and other stocks in that industry
and then compare what's happening in the stock to what's
happening in the broader market indices.  We hope you enjoy
the Watch List and that it proves to be a useful tool for your
own trading success.

STOCKS WORTH WATCHING
---------------------------------

Advance Auto Parts - AAP - close: 39.50 change: -2.52

WHAT TO WATCH: Look out below!  Investors decided to sell the
news following last night's earnings report and the stock plunged
6% to end just above key support at $38.50.  Should that support
break, APP should continue at least to $36, while $35 looks like
a more likely target.  Use a trigger under support and a stop
just over the 50-dma.




---

Scientific Atlanta Inc. - SFA - close: 32.65 change: -1.00

WHAT TO WATCH: After a failed post-earnings breakout, SFA has
been drifting sideways in the $32-35 zone and it looks like a
breakdown is about to occur.  If price breaks $32.50, then we can
look for a drop to the $30 level and then the 200-dma, which is
currently just under $29.  Use a trigger under $32.




---

Williams Companies - WMB - close: 9.39 change: -0.58

WHAT TO WATCH: Issuing a disappointing forecast for 2004 with its
earnings report this morning was not what investors wanted to see
and they knocked the stock back for a nearly 6% loss.  While it
may be a bit soon after earnings to jump into the breakdown, but
if price breaks the 200-dma and $8.80 support, it could make for
a great momentum play down to strong support near $7.00.




---

Abbott Laboratories - ABT - close: 43.34 change: -1.25

WHAT TO WATCH: With the rebound from the bottom of its rising
channel failing and a pending breakdown under the 200-dma looking
imminent, ABT certainly looks like a good bearish candidate.  But
taking a look at the weekly chart shows the long-term rising
trendline at $41.50.  A drop to that level could make for a solid
longer-term bullish play back up to the $45 area.




---

===================
On the RADAR Screen
===================

MER $61.68 - Delivering a nice breakout over the $60 level,
shares of MER are now starting to show a bit of weakness.  This
could be giving us the setup to buy a rebound from new support in
the $59-60 area ahead of a continuation up towards the $65-66
area.

MWD $61.50 - MWD has been a steady performer in the Brokerage
sector these past many months, steadily rising in its ascending
channel.  With the recent breakout over $60, it looks like the
bullish trend is still very much intact.  Look for a pullback to
confirm that level as support, and target entries on the rebound,
anticipating a near-term move to the top of the channel near $64.

LH $37.93 - Shares of LH have been falling sharply for the past
week, and today's earnings report didn't help, with the stock
plunging through the 50-dma on heavy volume.  This looks like an
aggressive breakdown play, with a likely target of $34.50-35.00,
the site of strong support from November/December.  Use a trigger
under today's low.


=================================================================
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DISCLAIMER
=================================================================

This newsletter is a publication dedicated to the education
of stock traders. The newsletter is an information service
only. The information provided herein is not to be construed
as an offer to buy or sell securities of any kind. The
newsletter picks are not to be considered a recommendation
of any stock but an information resource to aid the investor
in making an informed decision regarding trading in stocks. It
is possible at this or some subsequent date, the editors and
staff of PremierInvestor.net may own, buy or sell securities
presented. All investors should consult a qualified professional
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guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. PremierInvestor.net
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factors beyond our control.

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Copyright ) 2003  PremierInvestor.net. and
The Premier Investor Network.
Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.
PremierInvestor.net Newsletter                 Thursday 02-19-2004
                                                    section 2 of 2
Copyright (c) 2004, All rights reserved.
Redistribution in any form is strictly prohibited.

The entire newsletter is best viewed in COURIER 10 for alignment
=================================================================

Stop Adjustments:  None
Closed Plays:      None



Trading Ideas
  Value Plays With Bullish Signals
  Breakout to Upside (Stocks $5 to $20)
  Breakout to Upside (Stocks over $20)
  Breakout to Downside (Stocks over $20)
  Recently Overbought With Bearish Signals (Stocks over $20)


=================================================================
Stop Loss Adjustments
=================================================================

None


=================================================================
Closed Plays
=================================================================

None


==================
  Trading Ideas
==================

This section contains stocks that meet criteria which may make
them of interest to long and short side traders.  These are not
recommendations, nor have they been reviewed by PremierInvestor
editors for investment potential.  However, each of them has
technical and fundamental characteristics that make them worthy
of further review by traders and investors looking for fresh ideas.
New stocks will appear daily following the market close.

Value Plays With Bullish Signals
---------------------------------
Ticker  Company Name               Close     Change

WB      Wachovia Corp              48.15     +0.55
RD      Royal Dutch                48.50     +0.74
FNM     Fannie Mae                 79.76     +0.73
UNH     UnitedHealth               61.06     +0.76
KMB     Kimberly Clark             61.92     +1.13
COF     Capital One                72.25     +0.60

---------------------------------------
Breakout to Upside (Stocks $5 to $20)
---------------------------------------

KG      King Pharmaceuticals       19.25     +2.39
ELN     Elan Corp                  13.35     +1.55
WFII    Wireless Facilities        16.03     +1.02
MDTL    Medis Technologies         16.42     +1.46
DHC     Danielson Holding           9.55     +1.94

---------------------------------------
Breakout to Upside (Stocks over $20)
---------------------------------------

WY      Weyerhaeuser               65.65     +1.54
BIIB    Biogen Idec Inc            58.88     +5.65
GDW     Golden West Financial     109.85     +1.80
RSH     RadioShack                 35.41     +2.10
MICC    Millicom Cellular          89.77     +1.52
UNFI    United Natural Foods       46.43     +1.33
EEFT    Euronet Worldwide          20.05     +1.44

-------------------------------------------
Breakout to Downside (Stocks over $20)
-------------------------------------------

DISH    Echostar Communications    36.68     -1.99
WIT     Wipro Ltd                  41.88     -4.42
GENZ    Genzyme Corp               53.43     -2.04
INFY    Infosys Technologies       84.47     -5.53
INTU    Intuit Inc                 45.24     -3.95
LH      Laboratory Corp            37.93     -1.33
ARW     Arrow Electronics          24.65     -1.56
ASCL    Ascential Software         21.68     -1.72
PNRA    Panera Bread               39.29     -4.76

-----------------------------------------
Recently Overbought With Bearish Signals (Stocks over $20)
-------------------------------------------

MAC     Macerich Co                49.12     -1.12
ELAB    Eon Labs                   58.21     -2.78
CNT     Centerpoint                78.00     -1.27
ADP     Automatic Data Processing  43.25     -0.97
SAFC    Safeco                     44.33     -0.79


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