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by 10/26/2000 2:38 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Biotechnology name Chiron (CHIR – 41-9/16) announced that its third-quarter profit from operations was 23 cents per share, which was six cents per share ahead of Street expectations. However, the company also revealed weaker-than-expected sales of its flagship drug, Proleukin, leading multiple brokers to downgrade the equity today.

At this morning's open, the shares gapped almost nine points lower, and they are currently down by over 17 percent. From its October 9 intraday low to yesterday's near-term intraday high, CHIR had advanced by nearly 42 percent. With today's plunge, though, the stock is trading back below both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages as well as its 10-month trendline.

In CHIR's options pit today, the out-of-the-money November 50 call has seen volume of 1,318 contracts. Open interest on the option stands at 1,109 contracts.


by 10/26/2000 2:36 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Radio-station owner Clear Channel Communications (CCU – 54-3/16) reported that it had third-quarter net income of 72 cents per share, exceeding analysts' forecasts of 69 cents per share. In response to this positive earning surprise, the stock's "strong buy" status has been reiterated today by two different brokerage houses.

In mid-afternoon trading, CCU is in the black by more than four percent, prompting a bullish crossover of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. Such a technical development could have bullish implications for the shares. However, the security continues to hover beneath all of its significant intermediate-term and long-term moving averages.

On the option front today, 1,270 contracts have crossed the tape on the in-the-money November 50 call, which has open interest of 1,809 contracts.


by 10/26/2000 11:21 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
As we mentioned in a Market Observation, Pharmacia (PHA – 56-7/8) remains contained within an intermediate-term trading range between 50 and 61. After hitting the bottom of the range on Friday, the shares have appreciated over 14 percent as they make their way back toward the top of the range.

In today's options activity, almost 3,300 contracts have changed hands on the PHA December 60 call. Because this option has open interest of just 689 contracts, most of this activity should result in new positions. This is one of the busiest calls on the CBOE.

by 10/26/2000 11:20 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
AstraZeneca (AZN – 46-9/16) dropped two percent in yesterday's trading after the company said it will miss its target of double-digit earnings for the full year due to slow U.S. sales of its Prilosec drug. The shares are trading flat so far today.

Since hitting an all-time high of September 28, the stock has relinquished 13 percent, prompting a bearish cross of its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, which can be a sign of near-term weakness. The equity is currently struggling to hold the support of its 20-week moving average.

In AZN's options pit today 1,000 contracts have traded on the January 45 call, which has open interest of just 108 contracts. Two blocks of 500 contracts crossed the tape this morning near this ask price.

by 10/26/2000 11:10 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The S&P Insurance Index (IUX – 774.24) has weakened by more than 25 points, or over three percent, in late-morning action. In Wednesday's trading, the IUX tacked on 14.1 points to record an all-time intraday high. With today's struggles, the index is approaching its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, which are on the verge of crossing bullishly.

Leading IUX laggards today include Conseco (CNC – 6), down 10.2 percent; American International Group (AIG – 94-1/8), down 5.2 percent; American General (AGC – 77-1/2), down 3.5 percent; and MGIC Investment (MTG – 61-11/16), down 3.3 percent. This morning, AIG and AGC posted third-quarter earnings of 61 and $1.31 cents per share, respectively, both merely meeting Street projections.


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