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by 7/18/2000 3:24 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Oil issue Amerada Hess (AHC - 62-1/16) is up fractionally this afternoon, as it continues to trade just beneath its downtrending 10-day moving average. The stock has been trending in a pattern of lower highs and lower lows since its all-time closing best from May 12, declining by nearly 12 percent. In AHC's options pit today, 2,002 contracts have crossed the tape on the out-of-the-money August 65 call. Furthermore, 2,100 contracts have traded on the out-of-the-money August 60 put, making it among the most-active put contracts on the PHLX. The August 65 call has open interest of 437 contracts, while open interest on the August 60 put stands at 143 contracts. As a result, most of this activity at these strikes should translate to new open interest.<
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by 7/18/2000 2:20 PM
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With the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4202.2) down 1.69 percent and the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1496.95) down 0.90 percent, the tone is decidedly bearish today among the sector indices, with only nine of 38 in positive territory. Among the indices we follow, one hit a new annual high today. The top four performing indices today are the PHLX Oil Service Sector Index (OSX - 120.28), up 4.1 percent; the CBOE Automotive Index (AUX - 234.9), up 1.3 percent; the AMEX Tobacco Index (TOB - 195.63), up 1.2 percent; and the AMEX Natural Gas Index (XNG - 190.78), up one percent. The four indices showing the most weakness are the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payors Index (HMO - 321.75), down 6.1 percent; the PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX - 1216.3), down 3.9 percent; the CBOE Gaming Index (GAX - 285.49), down 3.4 percent; and the AMEX Networking Index (NWX - 1339.4), down 3.2 percent.
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by 7/18/2000 12:57 PM
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The markets have not rallied despite a Consumer Price Index report that generally met expectations. The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1495.14) is lower by 1.02 percent. Currently on the NYSE, 1,026 advancing issues are significantly lagging 1,594 declining issues, while 572 issues are unchanged. Up volume of 176 million shares is being trounced by down volume of 321 million shares on total volume of 521 million shares. New highs and new lows are even at 30 each. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4194.9) is lower by 1.86 percent. Advancing Nasdaq issues of 1,378 are well behind 2,357 declining issues, while 654 issues are unchanged. Up volume of 255 million shares is being eclipsed by down volume of 542 million shares. The 37 new highs are falling behind the 40 new lows. Option volume is showing little fear in the wake of today's market weakness, with the put/call ratio for equities coming in at 0.45 thus far.
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by 7/18/2000 12:38 PM
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This morning, Aetna (AET - 57-1/8) warned that it will likely miss analysts' earnings estimates for the second quarter. The company expects earnings to come in at 85 to 90 cents per share, while the Street had expected them to reach $1.20 per share. AET cited increased HMO medical costs for the shortfall. The stock is down over 14 percent at midday on the news, dropping to its lowest level since early May. The shares have plunged below all their key moving averages except the 20-month trendline, which resides below near the 55 level. Optimism had been running high on AET. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for the stock is currently lower than 93.2 percent of all readings taken over the past year. For more information on how AET has impacted its sector, see our Market Observation on the AMEX Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payors Index (HMO).<
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by 7/18/2000 11:19 AM
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Bucking today's broad-market decline, the PHLX Utility Index (UTY - 304.11) is currently ahead by more than three points, or just over one percent. This climb has the index poised to notch its highest closing mark since June 15. The UTY has gained nearly nine percent since its intraday bottom on June 30, and a bullish crossover of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages late last week confirmed this upward momentum. The index is also trading higher than its 20-month moving average, which it hasn't finished a month above since May 1999. Top UTY performers this morning include Southern (SO - 24-13/16), up 2.8 percent; Duke Energy (DUK - 62), up 1.7 percent; Unicom (UCM - 41-3/8), up 1.5 percent; and Dominion Resources (D - 47-5/8), up one percent.<
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