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by 2/23/2001 1:10 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Upscale department-store company Nordstrom (JWN – 18.66) announced fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents per share yesterday evening. This topped Wall Street estimates by a penny but represented a 60-percent decline compared to last year's results for the same time period. Officials at the retailer cited the slowing economy as the primary reason behind this declining profit.

In early afternoon trading, JWN shares are posting moderate losses. This has taken the stock just below its 10-week moving average. The equity has not finished a week below this trendline in over two months. From a longer-term perspective, the security has dipped back below its 10-month moving average. The shares ended January above this trendline for the first time in nine months. The options pits are quiet on JWN today.
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by 2/23/2001 1:10 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
S&P March futures (SP/H1 – 1223.00) just made new lows intraday. This new low effectively breached the lows of yesterday's trading on S&P futures. This break into new low territory completely reverses yesterday's volatile recovery. The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 33.44) is finally starting to show some signs of life, also making a new high relative to yesterday's trading. This gauge of investor fear has charged 12 percent higher already today.
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by 2/23/2001 11:07 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Last night after the close, the largest U.S. automaker, General Motors (GM – 52.18), said it should match the Street's first-quarter earnings estimate at 25 cents per share. The company also said it will likely attain its full-year earnings goal of $4.25 per share. This news came despite the announcement that January sales dropped five percent compared to last year, and February numbers are shaping up for a similar decline, although both months have topped original sales estimates.

GM officials also stated plans to introduce 40 new products over the next several years, including 11 this year and 12 in 2002. Such new designs include the Chevrolet Avalanche and a sports utility vehicle in the Buick line.

The stock is trading modestly higher in late-morning activity. Technically speaking, GM shares are sitting below their 10-week and 20-week moving averages. The stock has not had a weekly close above these trendlines since September 22. What's more, the equity has not finished a month above its 20-month trendline since last April. This indicates that the shares have been in bear-market mode, from a technical perspective, for nearly a year. <
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by 2/23/2001 10:45 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Redback Networks (RBAK – 31-1/8) manufactures networking tools for use in the telecommunications industry. Today, the stock is seeing a nearly four-percent boost on slightly above-average volume. This week's issue of BusinessWeek revealed that takeover rumors are swirling around the firm.

Apparently, there is talk behind the company's Redback that Nokia (NOK – 21.30) and other large telecommunications concerns are considering making an offer for RBAK to ease into the router systems arena. An analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston stated that, in a takeover offer, the stock could fetch up to $60 per share on its strong fundamentals. This represents a 100-percent premium over last night's closing price of 30.
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by 2/23/2001 10:25 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Through its flagship brand and its Pottery Barn and Hold Everything operations, Williams-Sonoma (WSM – 25.75) sells upscale kitchenware and home furnishings and accessories. This morning, officials at the retailer said the firm came through the holiday shopping season in fine form and will likely report fourth-quarter earnings of 78-79 cents per share. Wall Street expected to see 75 cents per share. The company also said year-end earnings would come in just under $1.00 per share, with total sales for 2000 reaching $1.73 billion.

The stock was halted briefly at the open but soon gapped 2.75 points, or 12 percent, to the upside. If the stock manages to inch above the 26 level, it will overcome its converging 10-day and 20-day moving averages, trendlines WSM breached during Wednesday's trading.

Options players have not been terribly active on the stock. The site of heaviest open interest is currently the near-the-money May 25 call, where nearly 2,000 open contracts reside. The second-most active option is the March 22.50 put, home to 550 open positions.
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