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by 1/12/2001 11:18 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
St. Louis-based Panera Bread (PNRA – 21) is seeing hefty volume and a 25-percent gain during today's session. As of 11:15 a.m., nearly half a million shares had already changed hands. Average daily volume for the café and bakery stands at 188,000.

The stock's rush higher was catalyzed by news that the firm's same-store sales for the fourth quarter climbed seven percent. Additionally, PNRA officials said they expect to meet earnings expectations for the quarter of 16 cents per share. The company sees total 2001 earnings of 66 cents per share.

PNRA has maintained a nice trend above its 10-month moving average since February, rising over 200 percent in the last 11 months. Today's move has taken the equity back above its 10-day, 20-day, and 20-week moving averages. The security's 10-week trendline continues to hang overhead around the 21-1/2 mark. Options are not yet traded on PNRA.

by 1/12/2001 11:11 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Last night around 7:30 p.m. ET, the Federal Trade Commission finally gave its blessing to the mega-merger between top Internet provider America Online (AOL – 46.85) and media giant Time Warner (TWX – 71.19), the parent of such entities as HBO television, Time Magazine, and Warner Brothers studios.

The FTC's approval of the $108 billion transaction came with a few strings attached. Most notably, AOL must agree to make its Instant Messenger technology compatible with competing services. Also, the FTC noted that AT&T (T – 24) will likely have to sell its 25-percent stake in Time Warner Entertainment.

Reaction on the Street is muted, as the merger's approval was likely already factored into the shares. TWX is flat in late-morning trading while AOL has given up about half a point.

Options activity is subdued on TWX shares. On AOL, options players are trading the January 50 call. Nearly 7,000 contracts have already changed hands on this front-month position. Respectively speaking, however, this is nothing to write home about, as the strike boasted over 42,000 contracts in open interest heading into Friday's session.

by 1/12/2001 11:03 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Primarily known for its coffee, Starbucks (SBUX – 44-116) is now breaking into the athletic industry. Last night, it was reported that a group of Seattle-based investors is dolling out $200 million to acquire the local NBA basketball team the Supersonics from Ackerley Group (AK – 12-7/16). The group was championed by Howard Schultz, the founder of SBUX. The transaction also includes WNBA team the Seattle Storm. AK is making a handsome profit, as it originally purchased the team in 1983 for $22 million.

On the Street, the respective equities in question aren't seeing much of a reaction. SBUX is trading slightly above the breakeven mark, while AK shares are down one percent in late-morning activity. <

by 1/12/2001 9:25 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Multi-line insurance company, Safeco (SAFC – 29-13/64) expects a fourth-quarter loss from operations of five-to-10 cents per share. The company said claims from adverse weather across the country near the end of December would be about $18 million. The current fourth-quarter earnings estimate is for 19 cents per share.

Technically, the shares had been emerging from a basing pattern and closed December above their 20-month moving average for the first time since May 1998. This trendline is currently protecting the 27 level.

Options investors have not entered the arena in great numbers, as current total open interest in options with up to three months' of life left totals just 2,788 contracts (423 put open contracts versus 2,365 call open contracts). In another sentiment note, short interest increased by almost 26 percent over the most recent reporting period. <

by 1/12/2001 9:08 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
March Eurodollar futures (ED/H - 94.56) are off 10 ticks in this morning's trading. The contract has been moving lower over the last few days, suggesting the market may not be expecting the Fed to move as aggressively as once thought by March. The contract is currently trading at its uptrending 10-day moving average.

It appears Eurodollar players are expecting another 50-basis points in Fed cuts. At the beginning of the week, the contract hit a high of 94.71, suggesting the Fed would be cutting rates 75-basis points by March.

March Fed Funds futures (FF/H - 94.44) are down 12 ticks this morning and have been moving in similar fashion to the ED/H's over the last few days.

Perhaps traders in these instruments feel the economy is in no danger of a recession, after the Clinton Administration's Council of Economic Advisors issued a report saying it sees no recession in 2001. Keep in mind, this could be a political move from the outgoing Administration. At the same time, economic reports this morning showed that retail sales and producer prices were stronger than expected.<

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