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Daily Newsletter, Thursday, 12/16/2004

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PremierInvestor.net Newsletter                 Thursday 12-16-2004
                                                    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:       Merger Mania
Watch List:        A handful of bullish candidates
Market Sentiment:  Maybe Next Week.

=================================================================
MARKET WRAP  (view in courier font for table alignment)
=================================================================
      12-16-2004           High     Low     Volume   Adv/Dcl
DJIA    10705.64 + 14.20 10726.85 10661.67 2.20 bln 1121/2103
NASDAQ   2146.15 - 16.40  2164.80  2138.81 2.39 bln 1222/1952
S&P 100   573.46 +  0.01   575.26   575.04   Totals 2343/4055
S&P 500  1203.20 -  2.52  1207.97  1198.41 
SOX       427.09 -  7.00   435.56   423.84
RUS 2000  642.23 -  6.38   648.61   640.53
DJ TRANS 3733.23 - 26.40  3760.24  3716.77
VIX        12.27 -  0.08    12.59    11.96
VXO (VIX-O)13.01 -  0.15    13.72    12.57
VXN        18.60 -  0.17    19.07    18.19 
Total Volume 4,872M
Total UpVol  1,812M
Total DnVol  2,855M
Total Adv  2716
Total Dcl  4615
52wk Highs  452
52wk Lows    47
TRIN       0.66
NAZTRIN    1.00
PUT/CALL   0.68
=================================================================

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

Merger Mania
by Jim Brown

Companies are in a shopping mood this season and today
was a banner day for deals. Symantec and Veritas, JNJ 
and Guidant, Nobel Energy and Patina were all caught up
in the holiday shopping excitement. Unfortunately traders
said bah-humbug and dumped stocks for several reasons. 
Some days even the best news falls on deaf ears. 

Dow Chart

 
Nasdaq Chart

 
SOX Chart

 

Bad news was more important to investors today and 
there was plenty of it. Suddenly new home construction
hit a wall and starts fell to an annualized rate of 
1.77 million. This was a -13% drop over October's 2.04 
million rate and the largest drop in eleven years. The
drop suggests builders are becoming concerned about an 
overabundance of future supply. We don't know if that 
was based on slowing sales or just an anticipation of 
slowing sales given the potential for interest rate 
hikes into 2005. Builders are continuing to exceed 
earnings estimates for every quarter and sales have 
also been strong. By lowering inventory levels they 
can keep prices high and not get into a price war. 
Housing permits also fell to 1.988 mil from 2.018 mil
and that was far less than the actual drop in starts. 
This suggests the November lull in starts could have 
been related to external factors or just a timing pause
calculated to delay inventory coming to market until 
spring. Confused? Until earnings begin to slip I would
still buy the homebuilders on any dip. Population 
density is growing, the equity markets are healthy 
and employees are seeing larger bonuses again. All 
this adds up to continued demand. The soft starts did
not impact my favorite builder today. NVR announced 
they were going to buy back $400 million in stock to 
continue adding to shareholder value. The stock closed
at $754 per share. That is slightly higher than the 
$405 per share from just six months ago. Sorry, no 
options yet. 

Offsetting the bad news from Housing Starts the Jobless
Claims fell -43,000 to 317,000. This was the biggest
drop in three years and the lowest level since July-9th.
The last two weeks were inordinately high at 350K and 360K
respectively. Analysts suggested that these levels were due
to an incorrect seasonal adjustment and now it looks like
that could have been the case. I would also expect this
abnormally low level could also be a factor of seasonal
adjustments. Jobless numbers between Thanksgiving and
year end should normally be ignored due to the scheduling
of holidays and the clumsy attempt to adjust for them
based on prior years. 

The economic picture brightened again when the Philly
Fed Survey came in at 29.6 and blew away estimates of
18.7. This was a huge jump and the highest level since
July. This report completely erased fears from the
disappointing Richmond Fed survey out last Tuesday. 
It is also in line with the NY Empire Survey out on
Wednesday at 29.9 that also blew away estimates of 20.5.
These are very strong numbers and they could be the
leading indicators for a new economic surge. 

The Current Account Deficit declined only slightly in
Q3 from -$164.4 to $164.7. This insignificant drop is
a function of several things but it was a real upside
surprise given the ramp in oil over the quarter. Nobody
thinks the downward spiral is over but this could be
an indication of a slowing of that descent. 

The bad news that rocked the markets was the announcement
by FASB that stock options must be accounted in earnings
statements by June-15th of 2005. This has been a hotly
debated topic and one that could really change the 
earnings landscape next year. Merrill Lynch analyst
Richard Farmer said expensing options would have taken
more than 10% off S&P earnings over the last year. That
is not the real problem. Tech stocks are where options
are really used heavily and the impact to tech earnings
is going to be huge. Merrill feels the impact to tech
earnings could be as much as a -20% to -30% drop. This
makes those already high PE stocks even higher and it
put a really dark cloud over techs for early 2005. The
opponents to this change vow to fight it in Congress
and possibly the courts but that could be a long fight
and it will not take away the cloud over Q2 earnings
next year. This was one of the major factors for the
sell off intraday today and one that will not go away.

The second reason for the drop was a sharp sell off in
the Russell due to a monster reweighting scheduled for
the close on Friday. The Russell indexes are adding 40
of the recent IPOs with three large ones going straight
into the Russell-1000. This bumps three large stocks
back down into the Russell-2000 in addition to the 37
remaining IPOs going into that index. Because some of
these IPOs have been very large it means they will go
into the R2K at a much larger weighting than hundreds
of the other smaller stocks. In order for the mutual 
funds to adjust for the new index they have to sell 
a portion of each of the other Russell stocks they 
currently own to adjust everyone's overall ratio. With
nearly $1 trillion indexed to the Russell indexes the
amount of shuffling on any index change is huge. The
Russell company itself advises holders of nearly 
$2 trillion in equities and directly manages $180 
billion for clients. Just a little Russell trivia I
thought you would be surprised to know. The Russell
fell -1% today and retraced from its historic 648
high this morning to 640 on the afternoon dip. There
was a buy program at 3:PM that produced a +3 point 
bounce or it would have been much worse. 

The volume on the exchanges today was close to five 
billion shares and tomorrow it should be even higher.
The Russell shuffle and the quadruple witching option
expiration could push it over five billion. The added
uncertainty of the option expensing could also add to
selling pressure. 

Symantec announced it was buying Veritas for $13.5B
in stock but before the day was over the deal had
fallen to only $10.6B based on the monster selling
on Symantec. The stock has fallen from its $34 high
last week to close at $25 today. This -26% drop in
SYMC has created a major buying opportunity in my
opinion. The combination of virus protection, data
integrity, backup, recovery and storage seems to 
many like a match made in heaven. SYMC had experienced
a monster run from $10.75 in just over a year. That
number is even more amazing when you realize they 
split their stock 2:1 twice in the last 12 months. 
Split adjusted that is the equivalent of $43 to $136
in 15 months. Needless to say there was a lot of
stored up profit and investors ran for the doors on
the news rather than calmly wait to see what analysts
said. 

The LEAPs section is going to go LONG the SYMC 2007 $25
LEAP Calls OBL-AE currently $6.00, Buy JAN-2005 $22.50 
PUT SYQ-MX currently $0.55 as insurance against a further
drop. I view $25 as strong support and the drop very
overdone. See the weekend LEAPS section for further 
details.

JNJ announced it was buying Guidant for $24.5B and 
traded higher on the news. Guidant was seen as adding
another opportunity for JNJ and the company said it
did not foresee any antitrust roadblocks to the deal. 
Noble Energy announced a $2.76B acquisition of Patina
Oil and Gas and NBL dropped -$2.16 on the news and
POG gained +4.69. POG was not a big operator with the
majority of its fields in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma
and New Mexico. Oppenheimer agreed NBL needed to make
some more acquisitions given the rapid depletion rate
of the current Noble fields. Oppenheimer did think
the deal was too expensive unless oil remained over
$40. 

It is amazing to me how many oil analysts can't see 
the forest for the trees when predicting oil prices.
There are going to be a lot of shocked people in a couple
years when oil is well north of $60. In my Profiting from
the Coming Oil Crisis Report I detail the public smoke
screen that is being used to keep civilians in the dark.
You would think that analysts would have a little more
on the ball and not be sucked into it so easily. Just
last week the ExxonMobil CEO said energy demands were
going to double over the next 20 years and we need to 
begin adding new sources of energy to keep up with 
demand. Some of the new sources he suggested were to
burn garbage, wood and animal dung. Seriously! I don't
know how far your SUV will get on that fuel or how
many planes will be stopping at feed lots for a fill
up. 

The $45B in mergers today brought to $90 billion the
total for December. That is the strongest period since
2000. Analysts have been predicting more activity
because S&P companies have over $600B in cash on their
balance sheets which is also a record. The IPO schedule
is also running at a record pace with 21 IPOs this week
alone. The huge sucking sound you hear is cash being
pulled out of other stocks to fund the IPO frenzy. But,
not to fear there was $3.2 billion in new cash deposited
into fund accounts in the week ended on Wednesday. This
was up from the $642 million trickle the week before. 
The end of year deposits have begun to flow and were it
not for the FASB ruling on options I would be thinking
SPX 1250 was just ahead. Now I am not so sure. 

There are plenty of fund managers that are paid bonuses
based on the years performance so they really need to
keep those stocks pinned against the highs for at least
two more weeks. Once the year-end passes into the record
books, ledger books in this case, they can run for the
hills if they are worried. I suspect a lot of them will
be worried simply because of the uncertainty of what
earnings will look like. Nothing has really changed at
the companies only the way earnings are reported. Does
that matter in the long run? I believe it does. Managers
are judged by the companies they keep and the almighty
PE ratios. If a company has an already high ratio, say
50 and earnings are $1 then the stock price is $50. If
those earnings drop by -25% because of expensing options
then earnings are 75 cents. A PE of 50 then equals a
stock price of $37.50. OR, it could just mean a new PE
of 67. I do not believe we will see either extreme but
a blending of both. That means slightly higher PE ratios
but slightly lower stock prices. This uncertainty cloud
will start to weigh heavy on the markets after the first
of the year when Q4 earnings are released. Many companies
will begin to give guidance on what their earnings will 
be after options expensing and the street will have to 
decide how to deal with it. Just a heads up for everyone,
the outlook has changed for 2005 but few have picked up
on it yet.

Today the Dow notched a new eight-month high at 10726
and seems hell bent on a new multiyear high over 10753.
For a change the Dow was one of the stronger indexes
on the strength of the JNJ gains. That also boosted 
MRK +1.31 and PFE +0.66. There was a strong bid under
the Dow that was not felt in techs. 

The Nasdaq dipped back to 2140 intraday and closed just
over 2146. The FASB news hit it hard as well as the 
Russell shuffle. After the bell CRUS and EFII warned
and traders took $4 from Take-Two Interactive after 
they badly missed estimates. Later the semiconductor
Book-to-Bill number was announced at 1.00, which was
an improvement over last month at 0.96 but the news
was not good. Orders fell -2.1% in November but billing
feel even sharper at -6.1%. This forced an improvement
in the BTB ratio but in reality the news was worse. 
This is not good news for Friday given all the other
challenges from option expiration, Russell and FASB.

Based on today's events my outlook has changed. While
we could continue to struggle higher in the face of
the FASB ruling and the semi slump it would only be
a jam job by funds trying to hold the market up for 
the next ten trading days. It is still entirely possible
that the bulls will just ignore everything but I am much
more cautious tonight. I would no longer buy the dips
blindly as we have been doing over the last several 
weeks. We need to be much more selective in what we
are buying and how long we are planning on keeping it.
Those stocks with the highest PE ratios are usually the
highest flyers and the ones with the most options exposure.
This should shift the focus back to more of a value
perspective and away from the hysterical PEs some techs
now command. The rotation may not occur immediately and
it could be a slow painful process. Once January earnings
begin to appear I believe it will accelerate. Consider
this a caution warning that an investor shift may be
ahead. We need to see how the market digests this news
and be more cautious until the outcome appears. 

Jim Brown
Editor

==================================================================
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
---------------------------------

Possis Medical - POSS - close: 13.38 change: +0.82

WHAT TO WATCH: POSS continues to build on its recent breakout 
over $12.00 and its 50-dma.  Today's 6.5 percent gain was fueled 
by volume almost double the norm.   The P&F chart looks bullish 
with a new buy signal from very oversold levels.  The P&F target 
is currently $19.50.  Watch for a potential resistance at $15.00 
near the top of the October gap down.




---

ViaSat Inc - VSAT - close: 23.00 change: +1.95 

WHAT TO WATCH: VSAT added 9.2 percent on big volume today to 
breakout over resistance at $22.00 and its 200-dma.  The move 
bucked the overall market's weakness and produced a new MACD buy 
signal.  Unfortunately, we could not find any news to account for 
today's breakout but its P&F chart shows a new ascending triple-
top buy signal with a $30 target.  This could be an aggressive 
players entry point although we'd prefer to see a pull back.




---

Concurrent Computer - CCUR - close: 2.64 change: +0.30

WHAT TO WATCH: CCUR soared for a 12.8 percent gain on volume that 
was 15 times the average.  We don't see any news to account for 
the move but the breakout over resistance near $2.55 could be 
buyable.  The stock has been suffering under resistance at the 
bottom of its April gap down for months.  CCUR couldn't hold its 
early morning gains but a bounce from $2.60 might be a 
speculative bullish entry point.  Look for resistance near $3.00.





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

ORBK $20.52 +0.63 - Ding!  ORBK added another 3 percent and 
produced the breakout over $20.00 we were looking for.  We would 
use this as an aggressive players bullish entry point.

LU $3.74 +0.14 - We normally don't follow LU but the stock 
appears to be producing a three-day bullish reversal signal.  We 
would look for some confirmation.  Look for resistance at $4.15.


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

Maybe Next Week.
- J. Brown

It looks like I was a little early calling for the year-end, 
Santa Claus, early January effect rally to begin on Dec. 15th.  I 
should know better than picking a single day like that.  I 
suspect that the next push higher will begin on Monday but it's 
only a guess.  This week and the next few weeks are expected to 
see a big increase in inflows into stock funds and money managers 
will need to put that cash to work.  Fortunately, the mood on 
Wall Street suggests that investors are happy for any dip as it 
provides another entry point for the widely expected push higher.  

Aside from another Osama tape out today trading seemed mild.  Yes 
there was lots of volume and market internals were negative but 
the market has been and remains overbought.  The pull back was 
focused in tech stocks and gold issues.  Tech is likely to bounce 
back while gold will depend on strength of lack thereof in the 
U.S. dollar.  

Today brought some positive economic news with the weekly initial 
jobless claims hitting lows not seen since July.  Plus, the 
Philly Fed index surprised economists with a 29.6 reading 
compared to 20.7 in November and expectations for a drop to 20.0.  
Tomorrow is a light day for economic reports with just the 
Consumer Price Index.  Don't forget that tomorrow is also 
quadruple witching Friday when index options, equity options, and 
stock futures expire. 


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

Market Averages

DJIA ($INDU)

52-week High: 10753
52-week Low :  9708
Current     : 10705

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 10588
 50-dma: 10298 
200-dma: 10238 



S&P 500 ($SPX)

52-week High: 1197
52-week Low : 1053
Current     : 1203

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1192
 50-dma: 1155
200-dma: 1125



Nasdaq-100 ($NDX)

52-week High: 1631
52-week Low : 1301
Current     : 1607

Moving Averages:
(Simple)

 10-dma: 1612
 50-dma: 1528
200-dma: 1450



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

CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) = 12.27 -0.08
CBOE Mkt Volatility old VIX  (VXO) = 13.01 -0.15
Nasdaq Volatility Index (VXN)      = 18.60 -0.17 


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

          Put/Call Ratio  Call Volume   Put Volume

Total          0.68      1,200,757       814,736
Equity Only    0.44        934,116       410,355
OEX            1.93         44,832        86,646
QQQQ           0.45        122,501        55,839


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

Bullish Percent Data

           Current   Change   Status
NYSE          76.3    + 0.7   Bear Correction
NASDAQ-100    77.0    - 1     Bull Confirmed
Dow Indust.   70.0    + 0     Bull Confirmed
S&P 500       76.8    + 0.8   Bull Confirmed
S&P 100       77.0    + 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: 0.93
10-dma: 1.06 
21-dma: 0.96
55-dma: 1.05


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     972      1164
Decliners    1857      1875

New Highs     271        97
New Lows       11        14

Up Volume   1034M      760M
Down Vol.   1206M     1453M

Total Vol.  2261M     2384M
M = millions


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

Commitments Of Traders Report: 12/07/04


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

Commercial traders are growing a tad more bearish while small
traders have pushed to new bullish levels not seen in many weeks.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI
11/16/04      452,149   468,048   (15,899)   (1.7%)
11/23/04      462,408   491,384   (28,976)   (3.0%)
11/30/04      462,394   491,813   (29,419)   (3.0%)
12/07/04      450,072   498,057   (47,985)   (5.0%)

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
11/16/04      166,862   156,751    10,111     3.1%
11/23/04      171,192   150,606    20,586     6.4%
11/30/04      176,031   148,876    27,155     8.3%
12/07/07      187,707   135,776    51,931    16.0%

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

There has been an interesting switch in the latest data.  
Commercial traders' bearish sentiment, while still strong, has
dropped significantly.  Meanwhile, small traders' bullish bias,
while still extreme, has fallen significantly.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % Of OI 
11/16/04      371,282   796,279   (424,997)  (36.4%)
11/23/04      412,724   849,091   (436,367)  (34.6%)
11/30/04      439,074   855,440   (416,366)  (32.2%)
12/07/04      470,553   805,234   (334,681)  (26.2%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (436,367)  - 11/23/04
Most bullish reading of the year:  133,299   - 09/02/03

Small Traders Long      Short      Net     % of OI
11/16/04      445,737     70,169   375,568    72.8%
11/23/04      400,995     62,080   338,915    73.1%
11/30/04      386,665     67,926   318,739    70.1%
12/07/04      311,838     66,496   245,342    64.8%

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


NASDAQ-100

We a similar move in the NDX futures.  Commercials remain
bullish but their enthusiasm has waned a bit.  Small traders
remain very bearish but their sentiment has faded a bit too.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI 
11/16/04       55,737     33,683    22,054   24.6%
11/23/04       58,159     34,104    24,055   26.0%
11/30/04       56,629     30,571    26,058   29.8%
12/07/04       57,621     34,313    23,308   25.4%

Most bearish reading of the year: (21,858)  - 08/26/03
Most bullish reading of the year:  26,058   - 11/30/04

Small Traders  Long     Short      Net     % of OI
11/16/04       10,533    37,660   (27,127)  (56.2%)
11/23/04       11,153    39,712   (28,559)  (56.1%)
11/30/04        9,902    44,779   (34,877)  (63.7%)
12/07/04       15,489    49,064   (33,575)  (52.0%)

Most bearish reading of the year: (34,877) - 11/30/04
Most bullish reading of the year:  19,088  - 01/21/02

DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL

Commercials traders pared back their bearish sentiment 
while small traders became more bearish on the Industrials.

Commercials   Long      Short      Net     % of OI
11/16/04       22,004    23,744   (1,740)     (3.8%)
11/23/04       22,527    25,537   (3,010)     (6.2%)
11/30/04       22,622    25,411   (2,789)     (5.8%)
12/07/04       25,523    27,351   (1,828)     (3.4%)
 
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
11/16/04        5,937     6,533    ( 596)   ( 4.7%)
11/23/04        5,833     8,299   (2,466)   (17.4%)
11/30/04        5,739     8,536   (2,797)   (19.6%)
12/07/04        5,274     9,507   (4,233)   (28.6%)

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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PremierInvestor.net Newsletter                 Thursday 12-16-2004
                                                    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
=================================================================

In section two:

Stop Loss Adjustments:  None

Stock Splits
  Announcements:        CMN, FLIR, JOYG, MTH, BCP

Active Trader (Non-tech Stocks)
  Closed Bullish Plays: TARO

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


==================================================================
Stock Splits 
==================================================================

CMN announces a 3-for-2 stock split

 
Thursday afternoon the Cantel Medical Corp. (NYSE:CMN) announced 
that its Board of Directors had approved a 3-for-2 stock split of 
its common shares.

The stock split will take effect as a stock dividend payable on 
January 12th, 2005 to shareholders on record as of January 5th.  
Fractional shares resulting from the split will be paid in cash.



About the company:
Cantel Medical Corp., a healthcare company, is a leading provider 
of infection prevention and control products, specialized medical 
device reprocessing systems for renal dialysis and endoscopy, 
water treatment systems, sterilants, diagnostic imaging and 
therapeutic medical equipment primarily focused on endoscopy, 
hollow fiber membrane filtration and separation technologies for 
medical and non-medical applications, specialized packaging for 
infectious and biological specimens, and scientific 
instrumentation. The Company also provides technical maintenance 
services for its products. 
 (source: company website)

--

FLIR declares a 2-for-1 stock split

 
Thursday morning before the opening bell FLIR Systems, Inc. 
(NASDAQ:FLIR) announced its FY05 earnings and revenue outlook.  
The company's guidance was slightly under analysts' estimates so 
management tried to soften the news with a 2-for-1 stock split. 

The payable date for the split will be February 2nd, 2005 for 
shareholders on record as of January 12th.  Post-split FLIR should 
have approximately 78.5 million shares outstanding.



About the company:
FLIR Systems, Inc. is a world leader in the design, manufacture 
and marketing of thermal imaging and stabilized camera systems for 
a wide variety of Thermography and imaging applications including 
condition monitoring, research and development, manufacturing 
process control, airborne observation and broadcast, search and 
rescue, drug interdiction, surveillance and reconnaissance, 
navigation safety, border and maritime patrol, environmental 
monitoring and ground-based security.
(source: company website)

--

JOYG mines a 3-for-2 stock split

 
Thursday morning before the market's opening bell the Joy Global 
Inc. (NASDAQ:JOYG) announced that its Board of Directors had 
approved a 3-for-2 stock split of its common shares.

The split will payable on January 21st, 2005 to shareholders on 
record as of January 6th.  Fractional shares resulting from the 
split will be paid in cash.  JOYG will begin trading on a split-
adjusted basis on January 24th.



About the company:
Joy Global Inc. is a worldwide leader in manufacturing, servicing 
and distributing equipment for surface mining through its P&H 
Mining Equipment division and underground mining through its Joy 
Mining Machinery division.
 (source: company website)

--

MTH builds a 2-for-1 stock split

 
Thursday morning before the opening bell the Meritage Homes Corp. 
(NYSE:MTH) announced a 2-for-1 stock split of its common stock in 
the form of a stock dividend.

The split is payable on January 7th, 2005 to shareholders on 
record as of December 28th.

About the company:
Meritage Homes Corp. is one of the nation's largest single-family 
homebuilders, and is traded on the NYSE, symbol: MTH. Fortune 
Magazine recently named Meritage to its "Fortune 1000" list of 
America's largest corporations and included the company as a "top 
pick from 50 great investors" in its Investor's Guide 2004. 
Additionally, Meritage is ranked as one of Fortune's Fastest 
Growing Companies in America, its fourth appearance on this list 
in six years. The company is included in the S&P SmallCap 600 
Index and appears on Forbes' "Platinum 400" list as part of an 
elite group of only five companies on the list that have exceeded 
50% in five-year annualized total return. In its 18-year history 
the company has built approximately 34,000 homes, ranging from 
entry-level to semi-custom luxury. Meritage operates in fast-
growing states of the southern and western United States, 
including six of the top 10 single-family housing markets in the 
country.  (source: company website)

--

BCP grows a 3-for-2 stock split

 
Thursday morning before the market's opening bell the Balchem 
Corporation (AMEX:BCP) announced that its Board of Directors had 
approved a 3-for-2 stock split of its common shares.

the split will take the form of a stock dividend payable on 
January 20th, 2005 to shareholders on record as of December 30th. 
If we're reading the press release correctly the company also 
announced a cash dividend of 9 cents per share payable on the same 
dates payable on a post-split basis.


About the company:
Balchem Corporation consists primarily of three business segments: 
ARC Specialty Products, Encapsulated/Nutritional Products and BCP 
Ingredients. Through ARC Specialty Products, Balchem provides 
specialty-packaged chemicals for use in health care and other 
industries. The Encapsulated/Nutritional Products segment provides 
proprietary microencapsulation solutions to an expanding variety 
of applications. BCP Ingredients, our unencapsulated feed 
supplements segment, manufactures and supplies choline chloride 
and derivatives used primarily in the poultry and swine 
industries. (source: company website)


==================================================================
Active Trader (AT) Non-Tech Stock section
==================================================================

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

  Closed Bullish Plays
  --------------------

Taro Pharmaceuticals - TARO - cls: 34.99 chg: +1.14 stop: 29.90

A strong day for drug stocks in general and positive news for TARO 
gave the stock a 3.3 percent gain on Thursday.  TARO actually hit 
an intraday high of $35.43, surpassing our target at $35.00.  The 
news out this afternoon stated that the FDA had given approval to 
TARO for its new drug application for its Halobetasol Propionate 
Ointment.  The company also received tentative approval from the 
FDA for its Gabapentin Oral Solution.  When this news hit shares of 
TARO immediately spiked higher on strong volume.  We are closing 
the play at $35.00 per our game plan.  The $35 level is expected to 
be round-number resistance made tougher by the presence of its 
exponential 200-dma.

Picked on December 01 at $30.90 
Gain since picked:       + 4.09
Earnings Date          10/28/04 (confirmed)
Average Daily Volume:       629 thousand




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

GSK     GlaxoSmithKline            46.76     +0.96
MRK     Merck & Co                 31.79     +1.31
JNJ     Johnson & Johnson          63.45     +2.55
FRE     Freddie Mac                70.75     +0.99
BMY     Bristol Myers Squibb       25.56     +0.53
WYE     Wyeth                      41.69     +1.09

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

CALM    Cal-Maine Foods Inc        14.29     +1.78
NEOL    Neopharm Inc               13.24     +1.16
CNVX    Cancervax                  11.34     +1.43
BCSI    Blue Coat Systems          19.18     +1.62
MFRI    MFRI Inc                    9.08     +1.97

---------------------------------------
Breakout to Upside (Stocks over $20)
---------------------------------------
  
ABT     Abbott Labs                46.19     +1.84
PEG     Public Service Enterprises 45.61     +1.03
UST     UST Inc                    47.24     +2.21
BCR     C.R.Bard Inc               63.99     +3.79
SEPR    Sepracor Inc               55.30     +4.85
GWW     Grainger W.W.              64.52     +1.18
POG     Patina Oil & Gas           36.61     +4.69

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

GS      Goldman Sachs Inc         105.40     -3.85
SYMC    Symantec                   25.13     -2.25
APOL    Apollo Group Inc           79.63     -5.70
BMET    Biomet Inc                 43.26     -1.09
MFE     Networks Associates        29.23     -3.48
CUNO    Cuno Inc                   56.35     -1.45
MANH    Manhattan Associates       23.72     -1.51
MIDD    Middleby Corp              47.70     -2.64
ASGR    America Service Group      22.02     -1.87

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

FDX     Fedex Corp                 97.71     -1.04
WCN     Waste Connections          34.14     -1.59
WMI     Waste Managements          30.23     -0.58
HCA     HCA Inc                    40.62     -0.25
LNCR    Lincare Holdings           38.41     -0.77
TFX     Teleflex Inc               51.38     -0.72
VCI     Valassis Comm.             34.80     -0.50


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