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by 10/5/2000 9:46 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
HealthSouth (HRC 9-11/16) hit an annual high in early trading this morning after a brokerage firm upped its rating on the stock from a "buy" to a "strong buy." Since a near-term low on July 26, the shares have advanced by 86 percent. This week, the equity broke above the 8 level, an area that had served as the top of a year-long trading range. Although HRC has shown renewed strength of late, it remains well off its all-time high of 30-13/16 from April 1998.

Options players are apparently looking for HRC's rally to continue, as its options configuration has taken on an optimistic bias. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on HRC has risen from 0.48 in early September to today's annual low reading of 0.13. For more information on SOIR, please visit Schaeffer's Daily Sentiment. <
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by 10/5/2000 9:24 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
In a follow-up to a September 21 Market Observation on Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (MMM 95-1/2), the stock heated up by more than one point in Wednesday's trading. This carried the blue-chip issue to its top intraday mark since August 28. Since logging a near-term intraday low on September 20, the shares have gained nearly 19 percent, prompting a bullish crossover of their 10-day and 20-day moving averages. The security is also now trending above all of its significant intermediate-term and long-term moving averages.

Despite MMM's recent success, its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) is currently at 0.36, its highest level since late July. As contrarians, we believe that this rise in pessimistic sentiment could have bullish implications for the equity. Check out Schaeffer's Daily Sentiment to learn more about SOIR.

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by 10/4/2000 3:59 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The Commerce Department announced that factory orders for manufactured goods rose by 2.0 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted $382.50 billion. July's reading was revised down to an 8.1-percent drop in factory orders, the sharpest decline ever recorded. August's modest increase follows the significant drop in July but was not substantial enough to stem the weakening momentum for the indicator. However, the small increase in factory orders, especially after such a marked drop in July, led many to believe that an economic "soft landing" may be in the works. <
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by 10/4/2000 3:37 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Biovail (BVF 74-1/4) is up over 10 percent this afternoon, reversing some of yesterday's 22-percent drop. Today, investors are reacting the news that BVF will acquire D.J. Pharma for $162.5 million plus the assumption of $50 million in debt.

The activity on the October 75 call noted in a Market Byte yesterday turned out to be additions. Open interest on the option rose by 1,010 contracts overnight to reach 1,947 contracts, which is the site of peak call open interest on the shares. Yesterday, 322 contracts were also added on the November 70 call. Option activity is relatively quiet so far today. <
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by 10/4/2000 3:01 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Avanex (AVNX 97-9/16) is off over four percent in afternoon trading, continuing a slide that has seen the shares surrender 40 percent since their early-September high. During this descent, the stock has run up against staunch resistance from its 10-day moving average.

In AVNX's typically quiet options pit, two large blocks totaling 1,000 contracts crossed the tape at the bid on the far-out-of-the-money October 165 call. Since this option has open interest of just 511 contracts, this activity will likely yield new positions. <
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