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by 9/27/2000 1:14 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
FleetBoston Financial (FBF 38) became the eighth-largest American bank after the marriage of the two largest banks in New England. The firm presently operates around 1,250 northeastern U.S. locations, and this number is poised to grow. Today, it was announced that FBF is in discussions to acquire Summit Bancorp (SUB 33-5/8), which runs over 500 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Terms have not been disclosed, but SUB presently has a market cap of 4.5 billion. Reports stated that SUB may also be in talks with other suitors, so this potential deal with FBF is far from finalized.

FBF is trading slightly lower today, while SUB has surged just under 10 percent. Yesterday, SUB shares added just over 10 percent to their value. <
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by 9/27/2000 1:13 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Rite-Aid (RAD 3-5/8) is among the largest pharmaceutical retailers in the United States. RAD has been under severe technical pressures for the past two years, sinking sharply from a January 1999 peak of 51-1/8 to its current position in single-digit territory.

Today, however, the shares are getting a much-needed boost, tacking on 16 percent and hurdling past their 10-day moving average. This rally came to pass when an analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette boosted his rating on the shares from an "underperform" to a "market perform." The analyst also said that while RAD's long-term outlook remains "uncertain," its short-term outlook is reaching a plateau, and the stock should not weather any more selling pressure in the near future. <
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by 9/27/2000 12:43 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, Micron Technology's (MU 54) "top pick" status was reiterated by a brokerage house. In response, the shares have stepped up by more than four points, or almost nine percent. Despite this climb, the equity remains beneath both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, trendlines that provided overhead resistance during MU's 50-percent decline from August 24 through Monday. The stock is also threatening to finish this month beneath its 10-month moving average for the first time since June 1999.

In MU's options pit yesterday, investors showed their conviction that the security has more upside potential. Open interest on the out-of-the-money October 55 call rose from about 7,000 contracts to 9,637 contracts. Today, the October 47-1/2 put is leading the way with volume of 1,491 contracts on open interest of 1,748 contracts.

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by 9/27/2000 12:21 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
VerticalNet (VERT 33-11/16) gapped up over 12 percent at the open this morning on encouraging words from analysts and from the company's chairman, Mark Walsh. The stock is in need of a boost since losing 50 percent from September 5 to yesterday's low. The shares appear to have found support near the 30 area, a level that served as the top of a trading range for much of 1999 and acted as support in April and May of this year.

Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for VERT stands at a low reading of 0.3, which means that call open interest outweighs put open interest by a margin of over three to one. For more information on SOIR, please visit Schaeffer's Daily Sentiment.
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by 9/27/2000 12:21 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
More bad news for Lernout & Hauspie (LHSP 11-5/8) has sent the stock to its lowest level since early January 1998. Last night, the company said that its revenue and earnings for the third quarter will fall short of analysts' projections. The equity is off over 17 percent in midday trading. The shares have plunged over 45 percent since the close on September 20 after it was announced that the SEC would be investigating the company's previous financial statements.

It's no wonder LHSP's options configuration is slanted to the put side. For options expiring within the next three months, put open interest exceeds call open interest by 60 percent. Today, 1,100 contracts have changed hands on the October 15 put on open interest of 2,018 contracts. These options traded between the bid and the ask, making it difficult to guess the investors' intentions.
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