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by 10/25/2000 10:11 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Ask Jeeves (ASKJ – 10-57/64) operates an Internet search engine that allows its users to frame their searches in the form of a question. Additionally, the company designs specialized search engines for corporate Internet sites. Similar to the majority of Internet names, ASKJ has been slipping lower throughout 2000, sitting almost 95 percent off its annual high of 190-1/2 reached last November.

Today, ASKJ has already sloughed off 1-1/4 points, or over 10 percent, in early trading. Last night, the company reported a third-quarter loss of 36 cents per share. This was an upside surprise, as Wall Street had expected the firm to post a wider loss of 42 cents per share. Company officials also noted that ASKJ should enjoy "sustained profitability" by the fourth quarter of 2001. However, this strong fundamental news was clouded by the announcement of the company's chief financial officer resignation. This morning before the open, the stock was downgraded at a brokerage house from a "strong buy" to a "buy."
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by 10/25/2000 9:15 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Affymetrix (AFFX – 52-5/16) announced late yesterday that it broke even for its third-quarter earnings. This maker of genetic research tools was expected to lose 12 cents per share. According to I/B/E/S International, this marked the company's fifth positive earnings surprise in the previous six quarters.

Heading into this earnings report, the stock dropped by more than five percent on Tuesday to slip back below both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. The shares remain in the midst of a near-term slump, as they have wilted by over 37 percent since their September 1 intraday high. AFFX is also trading below all of its significant intermediate-term and long-term moving averages. However, the security should receive a boost from yesterday's positive earnings surprise, as it is poised to open greater than five points, or nearly 11 percent, higher this morning.

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by 10/24/2000 3:47 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Thanks to upgrades from two major brokerage firms, PeopleSoft (PSFT – 43-1/2) notched its second straight two-year high in today's trading. The equity has put on a solid run over the past five months, rallying over 260 percent since its mid-May lows.

Call players are hopping on board today, particularly on the December 50 call, where over 2,800 contracts have changed hands. Since this option has open interest of just 108 contracts, this activity should translate to new positions.

PSFT's options configuration is already slanted to the call side. Its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stands at a low reading of 0.23, which indicates that call open interest exceeds put open interest by a margin of over four to one for options expiring within the next three months. For more information on SOIR, please visit Schaeffer's Daily Sentiment. <
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by 10/24/2000 3:47 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Laboratory Corporation of America (LH – 132-5/16) is up over 17 percent in late trading today. Yesterday after the close, the company posted third-quarter earnings of 94 cents per share, well ahead of Street projections of 81 cents per share. The company also said it anticipated reporting full-year 2000 earnings of $3.20 per share, 13 cents above the current estimate. Company officials also said that they expect 2001 earnings per share to increase by about 50 percent.

The stock had been trending sideways for the past month after rallying over 275 percent from its late-February lows to its previous high from mid-September. Today's move puts the shares at their highest level in five years.

LH's typically sedate options pit has come to life today. The most-active option is the December 130 call, which has seen 506 contracts change hands. Because this option had no open interest coming into today, this activity should translate to new positions.
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by 10/24/2000 2:40 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
MarchFirst (MRCH – 4-3/4), a provider of Internet consulting services, announced this morning that it lost $2.86 per share in the third quarter. The firm was expected to earn 19 cents per share in the quarter. As a result of this drastically negative fundamental news, the company has received numerous downgrades for a variety of brokerage houses.

In response, the equity has plunged almost seven points, or just over 59 percent, lower on heavy volume in today's action. MRCH is now trading at all-time low levels, eclipsing its previous worst mark of 5-3/4 from its initial public offering in May 1996.

On the options front this afternoon, the far-out-of-the-money February 20 call is leading the way on volume of 835 contracts. On the put side, the November 5 put has seen 540 contracts cross the tape.


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