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by 9/27/2000 10:03 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Amgen (AMGN – 71) has been confined in a trading range between 64 and 76 for the past two months. Yesterday, the stock pushed off its 20-day moving average to reach the middle of its range. The equity has gotten off to a sluggish start this morning with an early fractional loss.

Yesterday, open interest on the January 2002 60 put increased by 9,010 contracts, making it one of the most-active puts on the AMEX. This is now the site of peak put open interest on the shares. <

by 9/27/2000 9:58 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Bluestone Software (BLSW – 17-1/8) makes Java-enabled server software that allows companies to do business in cyberspace. In 1999, the firm's sales totaled $15.6 million, a 92-percent improvement over the previous year. From a technical perspective, the stock has been in quite a slump, suffering a nine-month decline. Since its short-term peak around 108 in mid-January, the shares have retreated nearly 85 percent. The equity is sitting below all of its significant moving averages, both short-term and long-term.

Yesterday, BLSW put options were the latest craze, as the October 15 put was the most-active put option trading on the CBOE. Exactly 20,000 contracts were executed on this out-of-the-money option, which was previously home to 2,401 contracts. All of this volume translated into new open interest, as 22,401 contracts now reside at this front-month strike.

This volume transpired late in the day, as three mammoth blocks crossed the tape between 3:25 and 3:29 p.m. Two of these blocks consisted of 7,000 contracts apiece, while the remaining block was comprised of 6,000 contracts. These blockas all traded between the bid and the ask prices at a cost of 5/8 per contract. In total, these 20,000 contracts are worth $1.25 million. BLSW is down slightly in early-morning activity.

by 9/27/2000 9:26 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Automatic Data Processing (AUD – 67-3/16) had an impressive day yesterday, thanks in part to brokerage house Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (MWD – 88-11/16). AUD was included on MWD's Tech Edge 26 group of stocks that includes companies that have either succeeded in implementing technological change or are in the process of doing so.

In light of the news, AUD shares vaulted past the 64 mark, which had provided recent overhead resistance. The stock has been trending in a steady upward channel since late July, and yesterday, it gained over three points to eclipse a new 52-week high at 67-1/4.

Options players weren't as impressed, though, as option activity was stagnant except for total front-month put volume, which increased 9-1/2 percent through Tuesday's session. Peak open interest still resides on the in-the-money February 55 call at 21,435 contracts.


by 9/27/2000 8:53 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Becton Dickinson (BDX – 24-5/16) announced after the market close yesterday that it would miss the Street's fourth-quarter earnings views by eight cents per share. The manufacturer of a variety of medical supplies and devices sees the quarter yielding 38 cents per share versus the widely held opinion of 46 cents per share. The after-hours release was sufficient to dilute the stock price by 10 percent compared to yesterday's close. In June 1999, a similar earnings warning for the third quarter sent the shares tumbling over 20 percent. Investor concern for the company's financial health has kept the stock range bound between 22-3/8 and 34-1/8 since then.

The company is not overly loved by the Street. Of the 18 analysts covering BDX, seven rate it a "buy" or better, while 11 have it as a "hold." Short interest on the stock swelled by 138 percent over the most recent reporting period. Options investors have shunned the shares as indicated by the anemic October peak open interest position of just 1,354 contracts on the 30 call.

by 9/26/2000 3:45 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Yesterday, Park Place Entertainment (PPE – 14-15/16) broke through short-term resistance near the 15 area to achieve a new all-time high. The stock is trading fractionally lower in the final minutes of trading today.

This afternoon, two 5,000-contract blocks changed hands near the ask on the January 17-1/2 call. Since there is open interest of just 499 contracts at this strike, this activity likely represents new positions. This is the busiest call on the AMEX.

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