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by 9/8/2000 12:00 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, National Discount Brokers (NDB 26-3/4) said that it will report a loss of between six and nine cents per share for its fiscal first quarter, surprising analysts who had expected the company to earn nine cents per share. NDB cited higher costs due to a 35-percent increase in staff.

The stock gapped over six points lower at the open and is currently off over 25 percent. This takes the shares well below the bottom of a short-term trading range near the 34 area. In addition, NDB is now below all its key moving averages.

Despite this news, option activity on NDB is relatively modest. The busiest option is the October 35 call with 282 contracts in volume, which could represent the liquidation of some of the 485 contracts open at this strike. <
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by 9/8/2000 10:51 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, Wall Street name Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (MWD 106-3/8) has given its stamp of approval to three apparel retailers. The brokerage firm upgraded Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF 24-9/16), TJX Cos. (TJX 22-3/16), and The Limited (LTD 22-1/4) before the opening bell this morning. All three stocks were boosted from "neutral" ratings to "outperform." In response, the equities are trading in the neighborhood of four percent higher.

On a technical basis, the retailers have been fairly impressive of late. ANF has more than tripled in value since late May, while LTD has surged 21 percent in the last three weeks. Discount apparel and home accessories retailer TJX has posted a 38-percent gain since the beginning of August.

These stocks have clearly been the leaders among their peers, as the S&P Retail Index (RLX 824) declined 18 percent between July 11 and August 31. The sector has charged strongly into September, however, paring these losses by seven percent in the past five trading days. <
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by 9/8/2000 9:24 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Aether Systems (AETH 144), a maker of software for wireless devices, was rated a "buy" in new coverage this morning by an analyst at Lehman Brothers Holdings (LEH 149-1/4). The broker expects AETH to reach 210 in a year.

On Thursday, the stock stepped up by more than six points, or nearly five percent, using the sturdy support of its ascending 10-day moving average. However, the shares remain beneath their intermediate-term trendlines as well as their 10-month moving average. That may change today, though, as the security is poised to gap over four points, or greater than three percent, higher at this morning's opening bell.

AETH has not received much attention from the options crowd. For example, the September 130 call is the site of peak front-month call open interest at a mere 410 contracts. If the equity remains in its recent upward trajectory, we believe that this complacency could be a bullish omen for AETH's near-term prospects.

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by 9/7/2000 3:31 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, Eli Lilly (LLY 69-3/16) announced that it agreed to sell U.S. sales and marketing rights for the anti-ulcer drug Axid to Reliant Pharmaceuticals. Investors apparently have favored this news, as LLY has pushed ahead by nearly three percent in late-afternoon activity. This upward momentum has the equity poised to finish today's trading in positive territory for just the second time in the past 10 sessions. Despite this rise, the shares are still trending well beneath all of their significant moving averages.

In LLY's options pit today, 3,015 contracts have crossed the tape on the in-the-money April 70 put. Open interest at this strike stands at 421 contracts, which indicates that almost all of this afternoon's volume is likely to become new open interest. This option is presently among the most-active put contracts on the AMEX.

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by 9/7/2000 2:08 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
In terms of indices, one of the leading laggards this afternoon is the PHLX Forest and Paper Products Index (FPP 280.15). The index has retreated by just over 11 points, or greater than three percent, to sink back beneath both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. The FPP is also now perched below all of its key intermediate-term and long-term trendlines.

The top index underperformer today has been Georgia-Pacific Group (GP 27-1/4), which has lost 5.2 percent of its value. Other struggling FPP components this afternoon are Louisiana-Pacific (LPX 10-9/16), down five percent; Weyerhaeuser (WY 44-5/16), down 4.9 percent; Boise Cascade (BCC 29-9/16), down 4.8 percent; and Mead Corp. (MEA 26-13/16), down 4.4 percent.
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