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by 9/14/2000 4:28 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
A major brokerage firm downgraded Colgate-Palmolive (CL 47-1/4) from "buy" to "market perform" today, citing expected weaker third-quarter earnings. In response, CL dropped nearly 16 percent on the day to its lowest level in 16 months. The primary reason cited was the weak Euro currency and high oil costs. Though CL is still expected to meet analysts' earnings expectations of 43 cents per share for the third quarter, a lower tax rate will likely be the sole reason. The brokerage firm said that without the help of the lower tax bracket, these "lower quality" earnings would not be achieved. CL has fallen nearly 30 percent from its January all-time high of 66-3/4.<
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by 9/14/2000 3:48 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Internet security company Symantec (SYMC 47-1/4) has dropped over 40 percent since its all-time high in early March. The stock is down fractionally in late trading today. Not surprisingly, its options configuration reflects extreme pessimism. For options expiring within the next three months, put open interest exceeds call open interest by 89 percent.

In SYMC's options pit today, activity is again focused on the put side. Almost 6,400 contracts have traded on the October 50 put. Since this option has open interest of only 499 contracts, this activity likely represents new positions. A 3,000-contract block traded at the ask, indicating a purchase. Several mid-sized blocks also crossed the tape near the ask. This is the most-active put on the Pacific Exchange. <
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by 9/14/2000 3:24 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Mail.com (MAIL 6-3/4) has advanced almost 23 percent from its intraday low on Friday. This has taken the stock above its downtrending 10-day moving average for the first time since late July.

MAIL has seen heavy options activity today. It appears that positions were rolled out from the September 5 call to the October 5 call. The September 5 call has seen volume of 47,000 contracts on open interest of 41,924, while 46,201 contracts have crossed the tape on the October 5 call, which has open interest of 3,050 contracts. These are by far the busiest options on the CBOE.
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by 9/14/2000 3:13 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Internet infrastructure giant Juniper Networks (JNPR 206-9/16) received a vote of confidence from the options pit today. It appears that a spread trade was initiated using the September 150 call and the October 210 call. Each contract saw a 3,000-contract block cross the tape, with the September contract transacting at 39 and the October 210 call trading at 21.75. With open interest of 6,149 contracts on the September call and 1,288 contracts on the back-month call, it appears that the investor rolled the positions up and out, moving out one month and up several strikes.

JNPR gapped up 5-13/16 points at the open today on the heels of an anti-inflationary Producer Price Index. The shares have regained possession of their 10-day moving average, a trendline that has often served as support on short-term advances.
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by 9/14/2000 2:59 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The Labor Department reported today that U.S. jobless claims increased by 13,000 in the week ending September 9. Initial unemployment claims for the week totaled 324,000, the highest such level in 21 months. Today's increase was considerably ahead of an expected rise of only 4,000. The four-week average moved up to 318,500, also its highest level in 21 months.

In theory, tight labor markets cause demand to outpace supply, contributing to inflationary pressures. However, higher unemployment rolls may not be seen as a negative if it eases tightness in the labor markets. In fact, it may comfort market participants to know that labor-market tightness has been easing for five months.
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