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by 2/15/2001 2:48 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Sealed Air (SEE - 36.93) is floating 15 percent higher in today's trading as news came out that Berkshire Hathaway (BRK - 70,800) took a new 4.3 million-share stake in the company for the quarter ending December 31.

The news may be just what the stock needed as it was attempting to get off of the ground from a double bottom around the 26-27 area established in October 1998 and December 2000. In addition, the 10-month moving average made a bearish cross below the 20-month moving average in May 2000.

Short interest did decline over the most recent reporting period to 8.99 millions shares. The current short interest ratio stands at 7.71, but is way off of the average for the stock that has historically held a high number of shorts.

Options investors are currently maintaining 5,133 open call positions compared to 12,045 open put positions in options with up to three months' of life left in them. One would expect this type of pessimism on shares in this poor of a technical shape.

Even today's bounce in the stock has not drawn out call buyers as early volumes show just 521 calls trading versus 122 puts.

Although not widely covered by the Street, four analysts rate the stock a "buy" or better compared to six "holds" and no "sells."


by 2/15/2001 2:43 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
May Department Stores (MAY 37.75) owns and operates regional department stores across the country, including Filene's in Boston, Hecht's in Washington D.C., and Famous-Barr in St. Louis. This morning, the firm announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.59 per share, matching the consensus estimate on Wall Street. The stock is trading moderately lower in mid-afternoon activity.

Along with many of its retail peers, MAY has been motoring higher over the past few months. Since its mid-October low, the stock has nearly doubled in value. This acceleration has taken the shares above all of their significant moving-average trendlines.

Speculative players have been hesitant to shop for MAY options, however. The site of heaviest open interest on the stock is the March 35 call, home to only 539 open contracts.

by 2/15/2001 2:28 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Powerwave (PWAV 25-5/8) is reeling in the aftermath of a ratings cut by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. The radio frequency amplifier company makes products for wireless networks. Nortel Networks (NT 31.15) is a major client. Because of concerns about NT's future needs and Latin American third-generation wireless delays, MSDW cut their estimates for PWAV and reduced their rating from "strong buy" down to "outperform." The stock has plunged almost 12 percent today, to the depths of a new 52-week low, despite the recent announcements of a Korean deal and several new patents.

Options traders have opened a large number of spreads on PWAV today. 1,000 contracts of the May 35 put and call have traded as part of a spread. A straddle is an option strategy using the purchase of an equal number puts and calls of the same strike and month. The trader is hoping for a large move in either direction. The March 40 call and March 35 put have each traded at least 3,000 contracts, also part of some spread strategy. <

by 2/15/2001 2:18 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Nvdia Corp. (NVDA 56-1/4), maker of advanced computer graphics, is soaring today after releasing an encouraging fourth-quarter earnings report. The stock is over eight dollars, almost 18 percent, higher after announcing a 70-percent increase in revenue for the quarter. Earnings came in at 38 cents per share, compared to 19 cents for the same quarter last year. This was one cent per share higher than Street expectations.

NVDA front-month puts and calls are being traded actively today. In the February call series, 593 of the 55 calls have traded, along with another 571 trading on the 60 strike. The February 40 put has traded 844 contracts, with another 635 trading at the 45 strike. The biggest mover in NVDA options today is the March 45 put. A hefty 1,562 contracts have traded on this option, including two blocks of 500 each. <

by 2/15/2001 12:49 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
E*Trade Group (ET - 12.99) is apparently enjoying its first day as a NYSE-traded stock. The shares gapped up at the open and are trading about 2.4 percent higher just after the noon hour. The stock is encountering some overhead resistance in the form of its 10-month moving average, a trendline it hasn't closed a month above since March 2000. ET's 10-day moving average also sits just overhead at 13.13.

ET made the move to "widen its potential investor base by significantly increasing its visibility in both domestic and international markets," according to a January 23 press release. The company is looking to expand beyond an online site offering cheap trades to a broader financial services firm. <

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