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by 11/14/2000 4:45 PM
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The Commerce Department announced that October retail sales increased by 0.1 percent, confirming a slower pace of economic growth. This figure was slightly higher than analysts' expectations of no change. Excluding auto sales, which sometimes skew results, retail sales rose by 0.4 percent versus a consensus of a 0.3-percent rise. September's retail sales figure was unrevised at a 0.9-percent increase. The year-over-year figures show the robust spending that has fueled the U.S. economy's strong growth. From August 1999 to August 2000, retail sales were up 7.0 percent. Excluding automobile sales, year-over-year sales were up an even stronger 7.6 percent. Today's retail sales number is the last major economic report before tomorrow's Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Most analysts believe the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged.
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by 11/14/2000 11:46 AM
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WebMD (HLTH - 10-7/16) reported third-quarter earnings yesterday after the closing bell. The Internet-health company reported a loss of 27 cents per share. The Street was expecting the company to report a shortfall of 22 cents per share. In pre-market activity the shares traded about a dollar lower from yesterday's close. Presently, in today's rebounding market, the stock is trading up fractionally. HLTH continues to languish under the weight of its 10-week and 20-week moving averages. The stock has managed only three weekly closes above its 20-week trendline since March. Year-to-date HLTH is down approximately 73 percent.
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by 11/14/2000 9:51 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The Russell 2000 Index (RUT - 476.55) went on a wild ride along with the broader-market in yesterday's action. Although the small-cap barometer finished trading Monday less than one percent below Friday's close, the index was off about 3.6 percent at its lowest point of the day. From a technical perspective, it is encouraging that the RUT remains above 450, which has acted as a key support level throughout 2000.

It appears that some options investors took yesterday's reversal as a sign to exit put positions. The most active RUT option on Monday was the December 500 put. Over 14,200 contracts changed hands on this option with a resultant decline of over 11,000 contracts of open interest.
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by 11/14/2000 9:49 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Home Depot (HD - 37-3/8) reported third-quarter earnings this morning. The company earned 28 cents per share, in line with previously lowered Wall Street expectations. The company also reinforced its full-year earnings projection from $1.16 to $1.17.

In yesterday's option activity on HD, the most-active options in both the November and December series were puts. The November 35 put saw over 4,100 contracts change hands, with about 2,600 of these contracts translating into new open interest. Just over 2,800 contracts crossed the tape on the December 40 put, with virtually all of this volume translating into new open interest. <
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by 11/13/2000 1:03 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Today's stock price screen shows few equities "in the green." One such issue is Anheuser-Busch (BUD – 47), the world's largest brewer and supplier of 50 percent of the U.S. beer market. The election quagmire does not seem to have slowed down America's appetite for beer. BUD shares hit a 52-week high of 47-1/2 on Friday in the midst of a very weak market. The stock price has recently been pulling farther above its 10-day moving average.

Despite the stock's strength, skepticism is evident. The October 15 report of short interest shows a short interest ratio of 4.82 compared with 3.6 the previous month. Furthermore, BUD's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio over the past month surged from 0.35 to 0.75, which is in the top four percent of such readings over the last 12 months. Such pessimism on a technically strong equity suggests there is room for further upside movement in the stock's price. <
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