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by 1/16/2001 4:00 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
AnnTaylor (ANN – 28) is an upscale retailer of women's clothing. Today, the stock has dropped more than five percent following news that its president and chief operating officer has resigned. Subsequently, Merrill Lynch reduced its near-term rating on the equity to a "neutral" from an "accumulate."

The stock's morning decline took it below its 10-day moving average for the first time since December 21, but the stock has since come back to overtake this trendline. Still looming closely overhead is the equity's 10-month moving average, which resides just below the 29 level. <
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by 1/16/2001 3:23 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
A major brokerage firm lowered its ratings on a handful of semiconductor capital equipment stocks this morning, citing price volatility in the near term. Two stocks escaping negative comments and remaining as "strong buys" were Applied Materials, which is off by 3-1/16 (AMAT - 43-5/16) and KLA-Tencor, which is off by 3-7/16 (KLAC - 36-9/16).

KLAC is scheduled to report its second-quarter earnings tomorrow. Current Street expectations are for the company to ring in 55 cents per share.

KLAC shares had been attempting to emerge from a basing pattern in the 25-to 30-area and closed last week above their downtrending 20-week moving average for the first time since their September peak.

A block of 1,000 contracts traded at the ask price in the January 40 call series. Despite current open interest of 2,526 contracts, these appear to be new bullish bets ahead of tomorrow's earnings outcome. <
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by 1/16/2001 3:02 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
All eyes will be upon tech bellwether Intel (INTC – 31-5/16) as it reports earnings after the bell tonight. The stock is trading down less than two percent this afternoon ahead of the earnings announcement and after revealing yesterday that it will purchase Xircom (XIRC – 24-21/32) for $25 per share. Investors are hoping the INTC conference call will give some guidance into the state of semiconductor needs for the near future.

The PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX – 629.55), which had shown signs of new life toward the end of last week, has fallen below its 10-day moving average today. It is trading down about six percent this afternoon. Investors may be nervous ahead of earnings reports due out from several chipmakers in the next few days.
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by 1/16/2001 3:01 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
According to the Commerce Department, business inventories at the factory, wholesale, and retail levels rose by 0.5 percent in November, down from an upward revision to a 0.7-percent advance in October. November's advance was the 23rd consecutive monthly increase. However, business sales were lower in November by 0.3 percent. A rise in inventories is likely the result of a slowing economy, as businesses have more goods in stock to deliver but have fewer orders to fill. The inventory-to-sales ratio, the measure of time it would take for a business to draw down its inventory, rose to 1.36 in November. This represents the highest figure since April 1999.
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by 1/16/2001 11:54 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Southwest Airlines (LUV – 30.15) was on the earnings front line this morning, announcing fourth-quarter results of 29 cents per share. These numbers topped analysts' expectations by a penny and represented a 61-percent increase over last year's figures for the same time period. LUV officials backed this news up with reports that the firm will likely face slower growth in the first quarter than it enjoyed in the fourth quarter. The Street seems to be focussing on this portion of the announcement, sending the stock into negative territory on average volume.

Last week, LUV closed beneath its 10-week moving average for the first time since September 15. The shares remain about five percent above potential support at their 20-week trendline.

On the options front, total call open interest in the front three-month series currently dwarfs total put open interest by nearly four times. However, over 60 percent of LUV's current call open interest will expire this Friday. Looking ahead, there are over 16,000 open contracts in residence at the January 2002 25 LEAPS call. By contrast, the site of heaviest open interest among 2002 put LEAPS is the January 17.50 put, the site of only 134 contracts. <
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