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by 2/7/2001 3:52 PM
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As the turmoil in techland continues, the shares of tobacco giant Philip Morris (MO - 46.52) continue to quietly move higher. In late-afternoon trading, MO is up 1.67 percent, to notch its second intermediate-term high in the past three trading sessions. In terms of sentiment, the Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on MO stands at a reading of 0.68, which is indicative of a lack of speculator optimism concerning the future prospects of the equity.
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by 2/7/2001 3:07 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Generic drug manufacturer, Barr Labs (BRL - 65.75) is reeling from harsh, negative brokerage comments this morning. Investment firm Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Inc. has initiated coverage on BRL with a sell rating. (You don't see that often!)

In a research note Wednesday, analysts at the firm wrote that the price of BRL's stock is "hyperinflated" by "rampant misperception" in the market. The investment firm went a step further to touch the entire generic pharmaceutical sector. The analysts wrote that stocks of companies like BRL that make generic drugs are "grossly overvalued" as a group. These companies' stock prices have been driven higher by investor perception that the expiration of patents on certain name-brand drugs will create large opportunities for these companies, the analysts wrote.

Options on BRL are not widely traded, as current total open interest in options with up to three months' of life on them stands at just 4,065 contracts (1,662 open put positions versus 2,404 open call positions). The news has sparked activity in the options pit as 1,856 put contracts have traded versus 612 call contracts. The February 70 calls are receiving the most attention with volume of 267 on open positions of 740, which will most likely lead to closing of positions. The February 60 and 75 put options are active, trading 431 and 215 in volume on current open interest of 245 and 234, respectively. <
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by 2/7/2001 1:07 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
News Corp. (NWS – 39.30) is up nearly five percent after the company released second-quarter earnings that beat Street estimates by more that seven cents per American depository receipt (ADR). NWS, a holder of such companies as Fox Television Network, British Sky Broadcasting, and Los Angeles Dodgers, reported earnings of 26 cents per ADR.

As a side note, the earnings release comes on the heels of news that the company plans to create a $70 billion satellite company. NWS is in the process of purchasing DirecTV from General Motor's Hughes Electronics and merging it with their existing assets.

The stock has broken solidly above its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, which it has been battling since January 23. Currently perched on its 20-week moving average, this trendline has oppressed shares since the beginning of October, effectively halting any rally attempts. <
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by 2/7/2001 12:46 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Internet content provider CNET Networks (CNET – 15-1/16) is the parent of websites such as mySimon.com and ZDNet. Today the firm is in the news after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of nine cents per share, meeting analysts' expectations. Despite this on-target result, CNET officials noted that its 2001 earnings would probably suffer amid "slowing market conditions." The company has decided to launch a pre-emptive strike by dismissing 10 percent of its staff. The firm also reduced its earnings growth forecast to 17 percent from 20 percent for the year.

This morning, the stock was greeted with three brokerage downgrades. CNET is currently trading off nearly five percent on above-average volume. On the options front, the most-active CNET option trading is the February 15 put. This near-the-money position has seen just over 1,000 contracts cross the tape. Open interest at this strike prior to today stood at 3,288 contracts.
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by 2/7/2001 12:25 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Fashion veteran Tommy Hilfiger (TOM – 15.75) has enjoyed a boost today to the tune of nearly one point, or about 4.8 percent. The stock's rally was spurred by an upgrade from Robertson Stephens. The brokerage firm boosted its long-term rating from to a "buy" from an "attractive."

TOM shares are coming off of a well-needed burst of strength. Between December 27 and February 2, the shares more than doubled in value, though the equity remains more than 60 percent from its all-time high achieved in August 1999. This week, TOM has retreated to test support at its ascending 10-day moving average. Perched immediately overhead, however, is the stock's descending 20-month moving average, which dwells in the 16-17 region. TOM has not managed a monthly close above this trendline since August 1999. <
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