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Federated Department Stores (FD – 46.20) is the largest operator of upscale department stores in the United States. The company is responsible for such names as Macy's and Bloomingdale's, as well as five regional chains and the Fingerhut catalog operation.
This morning, FD announced fourth-quarter earnings of $2.15 per share, beating analysts' estimates by a nickel. Despite this positive earnings surprise, FD officials did admit that 2000 was a lackluster year, and said 2001 would prove to be challenging as well. All the same, the equity has risen more than one percent in early trading and is within a chip-shot of eclipsing its recent annual high of 47.10.
The shares have been a strong trender in this equity market, tacking on 120 percent from its July low. The shares are seated above all significant moving-average trendlines.
On the options front, speculators seem to favor the bearish check-out line. The site of heaviest overall open interest is the May 35 put, home to 2,207 open contracts. By contrast, the site of heaviest call open interest is the January 2002 45 strike, where 611 open calls reside.