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by 9/28/2000 11:09 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Canadian pharmaceutical firm Biovail (BVF 83-1/16) received approval from the U.S. FDA for its hypertension drug Nifedipine XL in 60 milligram doses. The stock is up over one percent on this news and is poised to overtake its all-time high of 85-1/2 from Monday. BVF has been a strong performer in recent months and has doubled in value from its early May lows.

Activity is stirring up in BVF's typically subdued options pit. The November 80 put has logged volume of 2,000 contracts this morning. Since this option has no open interest coming into today, this activity should result in new positions.
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by 9/28/2000 11:07 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Viacom (VIA 56-5/8) is a major entertainment conglomerate. Overnight, it hit the wires that the company's MTVi Group, which controls the MTV and VH-1 music television Internet presences, has chosen to cancel its initial public offering. The division additionally laid off 105 workers, or 25 percent, of its staff. Company officials cited concerns about the volatile environment for Internet-based equities.

Despite this disconcerting news, VIA said that website hits on the MTVi's network of sites are increasing, rising to five million in August. Additionally, revenue at the VIA division is expected to more than double compared to last year, when MTVi earned just under $20 million. VIA is virtually unchanged in late-morning trading. <
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by 9/28/2000 10:48 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Before today's opening bell, Marriott International (MAR 38-5/16) posted third-quarter earnings of 43 cents per share, exceeding brokers' forecasts by a penny per share. According to I/B/E/S International, it was the company's sixth straight positive earnings surprise. MAR also announced that it sold four hotels for $274 million to a joint venture it created with Blackacre Capital Management.

In response to this news, MAR has advanced by more than three percent this morning to overtake its 10-day and 20-week moving averages. The security is now sitting just beneath its 20-day trendline.

According to Multex, the Street is showing some skepticism toward the equity. Out of 16 analysts covering MAR, five rate it as a "hold," while one gives it a "moderate sell" rating. Any upgrades as a result of today's earnings report could bolster the shares.

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by 9/28/2000 10:47 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Products Index (RXP 974.2) has stepped up by nearly 11 points, as the index appears headed toward its highest closing mark since July 12. Since September 20, the RXP has gained almost seven percent, prompting a bullish crossover of the index's 10-day and 20-day moving averages. The RXP is also trading above all of its significant intermediate-term and long-term trendlines.

Top index performers so far today have been C.R. Bard (BCR 42-1/16), up 4.6 percent; Guidant (GDT 69), up 3.7 percent; Chiron (CHIR 45-3/8), up 3.5 percent; and Boston Scientific (BSX 16-15/16), up 3.4 percent.

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by 9/28/2000 9:28 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Interactive entertainment software manufacturer Electronic Arts (ERTS 45-3/16) had a wild ride yesterday, bouncing around within an 11-point intraday range on investors' fears that Sony (SNE 99-3/8) would not ship all of the expected one million PlayStations 2s this year. The stock wound up posting an 11-percent loss at the close. Today, the equity is poised to regain some of that ground; the shares are looking to open over six percent higher thanks to an upgrade from a "buy" to a "strong buy" from a brokerage firm.

ERTS options, which are only moderately traded, are slanted to the put side. For options expiring within the next three months, put open interest exceeds call open interest by 42 percent.
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