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by 8/31/2000 4:30 PM
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Today's top performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU 11,215.1) was banking giant J.P. Morgan (JPM - 167-3/16). JPM gained nearly 11 percent on the day, as a result of both a strong market and a relief rally following the takeover of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ 88-1/2) by CS First Boston. JPM rallied yesterday as news came out that they would not be the buyer of DLJ. With today's strength in the market and financial issues, JPM has moved to an all-time high, its second straight. From its near-term low of 110 on July 3, JPM has added almost 52 percent. Its two-day gain of more than 12 percent has lifted the stock above the highest open call strike at 160. The most-active JPM option on the day is the September 155 call with over 4,000 contracts traded. This compares to open interest of 1,012 contracts.<
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by 8/31/2000 3:59 PM
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Today's release of the August Chicago Purchasing Management Association index surprised analysts by showing an unexpected slowdown throughout all phases of manufacturing in the Midwest, signaling a possible end to the recent torrid expansion. The NAPM business index fell to 46.5 from 52.0 in July. A reading above 50 reflects expansion in the manufacturing sector, while a number below 50 denotes contraction or slowing. The Chicago report is closely watched for clues as to where the National Association of Purchasing Management index, which will be released tomorrow morning, might come in.

Another bright spot in today's report is the drop in the prices paid index to 58.6 from 70.0 in July, nearly 16 points lower than March's high of 74.2. The new orders sub-index, an indication of future demand for manufactured products, fell from 53.9 in July to 43.3 in August, its lowest level since January 1991. <
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by 8/31/2000 3:14 PM
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According to First Call/Thomson Financial, 487, or 97 percent, of the S&P 500 members have reported earnings for the June quarter. With the current earnings season essentially at an end, 30 percent of the reports have been positive surprises, while only four percent have reported negative surprises. Earnings for the quarter came in 21.9 percent ahead of last year's second quarter; 77 percent of these companies are above year-ago figures, while only 21 percent are below. The best-performing industry groups in terms of percentage above analysts' estimates are: utilities, 13 percent; energy, seven percent; and technology, which has bested estimates by six percent. The communications industry is the only underperforming sector, missing analysts' expectations by an average of one percent.
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by 8/31/2000 3:05 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The Conference Board released its July help wanted index today and the results suggest that the tight labor market is continuing. The index rose to 82 from June's 80. The July reading matches May's number, but is lower than the 86 reading from July 1999. In a sign that a peak in hiring may be at hand, the Conference Board said that help wanted advertising has fallen in nearly all regions of the U.S. over the past three months.
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by 8/31/2000 10:29 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
It appears that Eli Lilly (LLY 73-3/4) is taking steps to improve its product line after announcing three weeks ago that sales would dramatically decline after the generic drug maker, Barr Laboratories (BRL 73), entered the Prozac market. Since Prozac is responsible for about 25 percent of LLY's revenue, it is essential for them to expand their drug line. Millennium Pharmaceuticals (MLNM - 142) today announced it has discovered a potential new drug target for treating cardiovascular disease. Together, MLNM and LLY, MLNM's partner in heart failure research, will pursue the development of potential drugs to treat congestive heart failure. So far this morning, LLY is down about 0.6 percent, while MLNM has soared over 10 percent higher.<
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