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by 1/31/2001 10:34 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Coca-Cola (KO 57.30) is the world's largest producer of soft drinks. This morning before the open, KO announced fourth-quarter earnings of 38 cents per share, matching the consensus estimate on Wall Street. During the same time period last year, the company lost two cents per share. KO officials also said that annual growth for 2001 should fall in the six-to-seven-percent range. Analysts, however, remain skeptical for the firm's near-term outlook. Price increases have led to a decrease in volume sales, some argue, and consumers continue to show a growing preference for sports drinks, water, and tea in lieu of soft-drink beverages.

Technically speaking, KO shares have shown little direction over the past year. Since mid-January 2000, the stock has been consolidating in a wide range between the 42 and 63 levels. This sideways momentum has notably reduced the significance of the equity's moving-average trendlines.

On the options front, Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for KO stands at 0.74. This is among the top five percent of all readings over the past year, indicating a heavy amount of pessimism from the speculative crowd. <
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by 1/31/2001 10:33 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Philip Morris (MO - 45) continues to find 45 a tough level to overcome, as the shares consolidate during an impressive 73-percent rally that began in September. It is not surprising that the 45 strike price has made its mark on MO, as there are over 13,000 calls sitting at this strike price in the February series. At the same time, it is impressive that MO has not experienced a significant rejection at this level, as call sellers at this strike would love to see MO close below 45 on February expiration. This is a sign of strength, even though the rally is in a "holding pattern". The 13,000 calls easily surpass the largest put open interest (5,961 February 40 puts).
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by 1/31/2001 9:37 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
PeopleSoft (PSFT 43-3/4) announced earnings late Tuesday of 13 cents per share, easily beating Street estimates of nine cents per share. The human resources software maker gapped significantly lower this morning, tumbling below its 20-day moving average, which had supplied some support to the stock last Friday. The security has already retreated more than 10 percent following the opening bell.<
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by 1/31/2001 9:20 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
AOLTime Warner (AOL 54.31) released earnings this morning just before the start of their first analyst meeting as a combined company. The lengthy results will take some time for investors to digest because of the complications of the merger. As a result, initial reaction in pre-market trading has been mixed, with AOL shares trading alternately slightly higher or lower.

Highlights of the announcement include pro forma cash earnings for the combined company of 28 cents per share versus 24 cents last year. AOL beat Street estimates by a penny. Their 15-cent-per-share earnings compared to nine cents for the same quarter last year. Time Warner's earnings, however, dropped by two cents.

At today's meeting, AOL is expected to announce ad deals with the likes of Nortel Networks (NT 39.00), Cendant (CD 13.00), and Compaq Computer (CPQ 24.35).

Ahead of this morning's news, AOL put and call options were among the most active on the CBOE yesterday, with 23,000 contracts of the March 50 call trading and over 24,000 contracts of the March 50 put changing hands. <
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by 1/31/2001 9:18 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning's release of fourth-quarter GDP figures confirms the probability of a Fed interest rate cut this afternoon. After last year's five-percent growth, the 1.4-percent figure released for this past quarter is quite a drop. In fact, it was lower than estimates, which called for a drop to the 1.9-2.1 range. Consumer spending fell 2.6 percent, while business spending dropped a whopping 4.7 percent. Vehicle production dropped dramatically while sales of personal computers rose by only 2.5 percent. <
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