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by 2/22/2001 3:36 PM
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Having done research on one of its plants in Indonesia, athletic footwear and apparel firm Nike (NKE 48.03) discovered complaints of poor treatment and sexual abuse. The company immediately formed plans for redemption, including harassment training, the establishment of a system to report grievances, and the installation of monitors at this and other such plants. NKE officials said they will also insure that proper wages are being distributed to the firm's workers.

The company's attempts to right its wrongs are being viewed favorably on Wall Street, as the shares have climbed nearly two percent in today's down market. The shares have clawed back above their 20-week moving average, below which they have not closed on a weekly basis since late November. <

by 2/22/2001 3:27 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Women's apparel retailer Liz Claiborne (LIZ 47.83) is seeing decent trading volume today following the release of its fourth-quarter earnings numbers. This morning before the opening bell, the company said it earned 96 cents per share in the final quarter of 2000, matching Wall Street estimates. This represented a 13-percent improvement over last year's figures for the same time period.

Looking ahead, LIZ officials said it expects sales growth in the low-to-middle single digit range for the first and second quarters, and slightly better for the second half of the year.

The stock has risen more than two percent today but is butting up against its overhead 20-day moving average, which resides around the 48.25 level. The equity continues to trade above its significant intermediate- and long-term moving averages. Since its December 18 low, the shares have advanced nearly 27 percent. <

by 2/22/2001 3:24 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Before the bell, Siemens announced that it would buy Efficient Networks (EFNT 23-1/16) for $1.5 billion or about $23.50 per share, pending regulatory approval. EFNT supplies high-speed digital subscriber line customer premise equipment for the broadband access market. The company took its shares public in July 1999, releasing 4 million shares at $15.00 per share. A secondary offering came to market in February 2000, releasing another 5 million shares priced at $70.00. The shares peaked at a little over 186 in March of 2000. In other words, while the buy-out story caused the stock to surge over 87 percent, a lot of stock traded at a much greater premium to the $23.50 offer.

There is little advantage to trading the shares post-news since after the gap, on the open, the shares have traded within a 3/16 point range.

With little additional gain to the options players, we have seen 580 put options trade today, compared to 2,324 call options. This compares to current open interest (in options with up to three months' of life left) of 3,973 open put positions and 5,206 call open positions. A good deal of the activity will probably result in the liquidation of positions.

The peak open interest front-month option is the March 15 call. The option was bid yesterday at 5/8 (as an out of-the-money option) and currently holds a bid of 7-7/8 (as an 8-1/16 in-the-money option).

We have noted 1,010 contracts trade on the out-of-the-money March 25 call. The majority of the trades went off at the bid of 1/16. Compared to current open interest of just 165 contracts, these were most likely call writes. The trader was able to scalp $6.00 per contract on a strike $1.50 above the price Siemens is paying for the company.


by 2/22/2001 3:14 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Sunglass Hut International (RAYS 11-5/16) is the world's largest specialty retailer of sunglasses, boasting around 2,000 stores in four continents. Today, the firm's shares are among the most-active on the Nasdaq Exchange, rising more than 37 percent to a new annual peak.

Today's rally was catalyzed by the news that RAYS agreed to be acquired by Luxottica Group for $462 million, or about $11 per share. Presently, the equity is trading above this per-share buyout level. The deal is ultimately valued at over $650 million when assumed debt is factored into the equation. <

by 2/22/2001 1:49 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Skechers U.S.A. (SKX 26.00) has vaulted ahead today, gaining more than 16 percent after announcing fourth-quarter earnings. The footwear manufacturer posted earnings of 26 cents per share, soaring past Street estimates of 16 cents per share. Analysts were also pleased to hear that the company expects a 20 to 25 percent earnings growth in 2002.

The shares gapped above their 10-day and 20-day moving averages, and may now use those trendlines as support to sustain its upward growth.

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