Stocks quoted in this article:
Positive words from an analyst at a major brokerage firm has sent the AMEX Tobacco Index (TOB - 236.42) to the top of the market today. The index has surged to its highest level since October. Loews (LTR - 84-1/8) is the top-performing index component with its 10.6-percent gain, followed closely by Philip Morris's (MO - 30-15/16) eight-percent jump. Of all the tobacco stocks, MO is seeing the most option activity by far. The September 32-1/2 call has seen over 8,500 contracts change hands versus its open interest of 4,865 contracts. The August 30 call has logged volume of over 4,700 contracts compared to open interest of 8,517 contracts. These are two of the busiest calls on the AMEX. On the put side, almost 3,100 contracts have traded on the December 25 put, which has open interest of 10,363 contracts.