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by 10/10/2000 3:31 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The S&P Healthcare Index (HCX 854.9) is on positive ground by more than 20 points, or over two percent, in late-afternoon activity. With this accumulation, the index is poised to close at its highest level since July 12. The HCX has also retaken its 10-day moving average and is now above all of its key moving averages.

Equities leading the HCX upward today include Schering-Plough (SGP 49-3/8), up five percent; Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 94-3/4), up 3.7 percent; American Home Products (AHP 58-15/16), up 3.7 percent; Baxter International (BAX 83-15/16), up 3.3 percent; and Abbott Laboratories (ABT 49-1/8), up three percent.


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by 10/10/2000 2:03 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Peregrine Systems (PRGN 18-3/8) makes software for the e-commerce industry. The stock has been directionless of late, moving in an oscillatory pattern since mid-May, when it reached a short-term bottom around the 15 mark. PRGN recently turned higher after encountering this region last week.

This morning, it hit the wires that the company's financial chief will be taking a health-based sabbatical. The reigns will be held by someone who is second-in-command in the company's finance department.

On the news of this shake-up, the stock turned lower and is presently trading over 3.5 percent to the downside. Additionally, PRGN is seeing notable activity in its options pit. Nearly 4,400 contracts have traded on the October 20 call, which is presently home to 2,164 contracts. This suggests that at least half of today's volume should translate into new open interest. This is among the most-active calls trading on the AMEX. <
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by 10/10/2000 2:02 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Rite Aid (RAD 3-3/16) is the third-largest pharmaceutical retailer in the United States. The security has endured a tumultuous two years, collapsing nearly 94 percent since January 1999. Needless to say, the stock is perched below all of its moving averages.

Shortly before the open this morning, RAD officials announced a second-quarter loss of $1.87 per share, down significantly from 1999's second quarter, when the firm lost 60 cents per share. This number was also significantly below the Street's expectations, as analysts' estimates ranged from a loss of 17 cents per share to a loss of 50 cents per share. Also wounding the shares was news that the company plans to relocate or open 75 stores in 2001, down from the 90 originally planned.

On the upside, the company announced that same-store sales for the quarter rose 9.9 percent over last year. This nugget of information was not enough to stave off a drubbing, however. In mid-afternoon activity, RAD shares are trading over 20 percent lower. <
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by 10/10/2000 12:32 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Altera (ALTR 29-1/8) has turned significantly lower today in response to news that Lehman Brothers Holdings, Salomon Smith Barney, and Prudential all cut their ratings on this semiconductor issue. The security gapped 9-9/16 points in the red at the open and is presently in negative territory by nearly 12 points, or just under 29 percent. The shares have collapsed to levels not seen since mid-January, and they are beneath all of their key moving averages.

On the options front today for ALTR, 1,868 and 1,792 contracts have traded on the out-of-the-money October 35 and 40 calls, respectively. The October 35 call has no open interest, while open interest on the October 40 call now stands at 276 contracts. What's more, the January 42-1/2 call has seen volume of 1,000 contracts on open interest of 171 contracts. By comparison, no put has had volume of more than 150 contracts today.


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by 10/10/2000 12:23 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Apache (APA 63-3/8) has agreed to buy Fletcher Challenge Energy (FEG 37-5/16) jointly with a unit of Royal Dutch Shell (RD 62-13/16) for $1.63 billion. RD's Overseas Holdings Group agreed to buy 1.64 million restricted APA shares for $100 million.

In reaction to this development, APA has received numerous upgrades from various brokerage firms. The equity is in the black by almost eight points, or just over 14 percent, in early afternoon trading. This upswing has helped the shares reclaim both their 10-day and 20-day moving averages, which they haven't closed a session above in more than three weeks. APA is also back above its intermediate-term trendlines.

Pessimism toward this natural-gas name has decreased of late. From last Thursday through this morning, Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on APA has dropped from 1.05 to 0.89 for options expiring within the next three months. Please visit Schaeffer's Daily Sentiment for additional information about SOIR.


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