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by 6/1/2000 11:15 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning before the open, pharmaceutical concern Pfizer (PFE - 45-7/8) reported that its popular anti-impotence drug Viagra was not linked to heightened cardiovascular problems in users with heart disease. Shortly thereafter, it was reported that brokerage titan Merrill Lynch (MER - 102-7/8) had named PFE its “focus one” selection, keeping it listed as a near-term and long-term “buy.” Around 11:15 a.m., the shares were trading three percent higher. PFE has enjoyed an impressive rally higher since the beginning of March, tacking on more than 50 percent during the past three months of trading. This uptrend has been guided higher by the equity’s ascending 10-day and 20-day moving averages. Options speculators are taking notice of this strength, as evidenced by PFE’s current options configuration. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) on PFE presently weighs in at 0.32, which is effectively lower than 98.5 percent of all other SOIR readings on PFE over the past 12 months. What is encouraging from an options perspective is that PFE has been able to surge above the 40 and 45 strikes, which are the two sites of heaviest call open interest in the front-month series. Together, the two call strikes boast nearly 40,000 open contracts. <
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by 6/1/2000 11:14 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Best Buy (BBY - 68-1/8) is the nation’s largest electronics retailer. This morning, the company announced that same-store sales for the first quarter rose nine percent, while total sales for the three-month period climbed 24 percent. Piggy-backing on this sales news, BBY issued a strong earnings forecast for the first quarter. The company expects to earn 34 cents per share for the quarter, six cents above Wall Street’s 28-cent expectation. The company also plans to open 55 new locations during fiscal year 2001. BBY will likely announce its earnings numbers during the last week of June. BBY shot more than 3-1/2 points higher at the opening bell and is currently trading more than six percent in positive territory. On the sentiment front, BBY options players are displaying a massive amount of optimism on the stock. This morning, BBY’s Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) stood at 0.35. This figure ranks in the lower two percent of all annual SOIR readings on the equity. Taking into account that BBY shares lost 20 percent of their value in May and are continuing to trade below their 10-day and 20-day moving averages, this bullishness seems somewhat unjustified. For more information on SOIR, please visit Schaeffer’s Daily Sentiment.
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by 6/1/2000 11:13 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
New home sales figures released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday surprised economists by recording their slowest pace since November. April new home sales were down 5.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 909,000 annual rate. April's decline followed March's upwardly revised annualized rate of 965,000, the second highest on record. Analysts had expected a rise of 3.2 percent. The April number is 2.3 percent lower than the year-ago figure. The housing sector is expected to be one of the first to feel the effects of the six interest-rate increases by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) since last June. The FOMC meets June 27 and 28 to discuss whether to continue raising short-term interest rates.
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by 6/1/2000 10:29 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Yesterday, the Conference Board released their April leading-indicators figures. The index of leading indicators fell 0.1 percent in April to 106.0 and remained unchanged from 106.0 in February. April’s decline brings an end to four straight monthly increases. In the six months from October to April, the leading-indicators index increased 0.5 percent. The slowing upward trend in the leading indicators suggests that the U.S. economy will likely continue its growth through the third quarter, though possibly at a slower pace. The coincident indicator, a gauge of current conditions, rose 0.5 percent to 115.2. <
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by 6/1/2000 8:55 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
According to the Labor Department, the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment for the week ended May 27 rose unexpectedly. While analysts anticipated unemployment claims to decline by 4,000, the actual number increased by 1,000 to 286,000. Many economists, however, stated that due to the extremely tight labor market, today's numbers shouldn't have a major impact on the Federal Reserve, which is still expected to raise interest rates at its upcoming June policy-setting meeting. As for the stock market, the June S&P 500 futures contract (SP/M0 - 1430.30) is up over eight points in early morning activity, indicating a strong open. <
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