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by 11/28/2000 9:48 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Oil services provider Schlumberger (SLB - 71-3/8), declined over two points yesterday en route to trading at its lowest levels since late July. In yesterday's option activity, SLB's out-of-the-money December 80 call was notably active. Over 4,500 contracts changed hands on this option, with approximately 3,800 contracts of the volume translating into new open interest. Some of the volume on the December 80 call may have been paired with trades on the December 70 put to create a position. The December 70 put traded just over 3,000 contracts with about 2,600 contracts of the volume translating into new open interest. The remaining options in the December series saw only modest volume.
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by 11/28/2000 9:23 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
After the market closed yesterday, Cognex (CGNX - 26-3/16) alerted the media to a potential fourth quarter earnings shortfall. The company now expects to earn 36 cents per share versus the current consensus of 46 cents for the present quarter, although they still forecast 2000 to be a record year.

The market instantaneously and unemotionally discounts the negative impact of future lowered expectations, so after halting in after-hours activity for a period, the shares resumed trading after 6:00, reaching a low of 16-31/64. This morning they are still trading down 39 percent in pre-market activity. Robertson Stephens has now downgraded its rating on the stock from a "buy" to an "attractive."

CGNX's products are used to automate and assure quality control for a variety of discrete items. The company attributed their lowered expectations to smaller and delayed orders from clients who manufacture capital equipment for the semiconductor industry.

The shares peaked at 73-1/8 in late March and then began a protracted decline, testing support in the 24-to-25 area. Option activity in the stock is practically non-existent, as even short sellers have all but abandoned it. The last peak of activity occurred in February 1999.
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by 11/27/2000 3:21 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Shortly before the close, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT – 49-9/16) is trading over nine percent higher on above-average volume. This move has taken the equity above its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, although it remains a chip shot below its 20-week trendline overhead.

This move was catalyzed by the retailer's announcement that sales for the day after Thanksgiving totaled more than $1.1 billion. For the day, same-store sales posted a four-to-six percent increase when compared to last year's numbers.

Call speculators are busy on the stock today, as the December 50 and the January 55 and 80 calls have all seen more than 1,000 contracts change hands. Options activity is muted on the put side of the fence. <
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by 11/27/2000 2:54 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
There is no end in sight to the volatility that has recently plagued the B2B stocks. Last week, several of these stocks reached their lows of the year, along with the Nasdaq market in general. Friday's bounce up looked like it would continue this morning for at least two members, who both announced good news and gapped higher at the open. Ariba (ARBA – 69-13/16) announced that it was chosen by Pfizer (PFE – 44-7/8) to manage its procurement efforts and Commerce One (CMRC – 35-5/8) became part of a group of companies set to power the e-commerce initiative in Korea. The effect of the good news didn't last long because Wit Soundview downgraded the sector this morning.

In options action, 663 CMRC December 30 puts have traded today. With open interest of just 113 contracts, most of this activity is likely new positions. Also trading today are 720 December 45 calls, 858 December 50 calls, and 1,040 December 40 calls. ARBA options activity is light, with the most activity showing 389 December 70 calls trading. <
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by 11/27/2000 2:43 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Broadcom (BRCM – 97-1/2), a popular maker of integrated circuits for broadband networks, is down over 16 percent today after the price target was reduced from $300 to $200 by Salomon Smith Barney, who still maintains a "buy" rating on the stock. This is the lowest the stock has traded this year. So far today, 1,059 contracts of the December 100 put have traded. The most call activity today is at the December 110 strike price, where 1,200 contracts have traded.
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