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by 1/12/2001 11:46 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
B2B leader, Ariba (ARBA – 37-3/4) released first-quarter earnings yesterday evening. Profit of five cents per share beat estimates of two cents, with a 26-percent increase in revenue. ARBA is the first profitable B2B concern and its share price has previously skyrocketed upon releasing good earnings. Today is different, as the stock is down over five dollars per share, or 13 percent. Several analysts have cut ratings on ARBA today, citing slowing growth momentum even though the company increased estimates for this quarter. One figure that may have spooked analysts is the 94-percent increase in accounts receivable for ARBA. Changes in the way the company accounts for revenue led some to speculate that the quarter may not have been as strong as it appeared.

In options activity since the news release, the most active option is the January 40 call which has traded 2,121 contracts so far today on open interest of 4,366. The January 35 put has had 1,835 contracts change hands today. Open interest on that option was only 1,220 before today, so some of these are definitely new positions being opened.

by 1/12/2001 11:27 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Coca-Cola (KO – 57-1/16) was featured in today's Wall Street Journal as the soft-drink king has signed a letter of intent to purchase New York's P.J. Bean, which is the manufacturer of Planet Java. Planet Java makes a line of bottled coffee drinks and will hopefully help KO compete with PepsiCo (PEP – 46), which markets the Frappuccino line together with Starbucks (SBUX – 44-1/4). Planet Java is currently only distributed in New York and New Jersey, but KO plans to take the line nationwide. Terms of the agreement have not been revealed.

KO is trading modestly lower today. For the past six months, KO shares have been virtually direction-less, hovering in a range between the 53 and 64 levels. This sideways trending phenomenon has reduced the significance of the equity's moving-average trendlines.

On the options front, speculators are failing to commit to a direction as well. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for KO presently stands at 0.53. Relatively speaking, this ranks in the 43rd percentile of all annual readings, which could hardly get more "average." <

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. <

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