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by 8/29/2000 3:12 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Yesterday, the Commerce Department released personal income and spending figures for July that showed a continuing trend of growing incomes and even faster-growing spending. Personal income was up 0.3 percent in July, a drop from June's 0.4-percent rise. Spending, however, was up 0.6 percent, higher than June's downwardly revised 0.4-percent increase. This combination pushed the savings rate, the percentage of income remaining after spending, to a negative 0.2 percent. This is the lowest such figure since the government began keeping records in 1959. This may be of concern to the Fed when they next meet on October 3 to discuss interest rates. Continued strong spending fuels the economic growth the Fed is trying to cool by raising interest rates. The implicit price deflator number, one of the key indicators the Fed uses to determine inflationary price pressures, was up only 0.2 percent after a 0.3-percent rise in June. This indicates that price pressures are only moderately higher, despite the meteoric rise in fuel prices and continued tightness in labor markets.
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by 8/29/2000 2:55 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Deere & Co. (DE 33-15/16) is down fractionally in mid-afternoon activity, as it continues to hover above its 10-day moving average. However, the stock is beneath its 20-day moving average as well as all of its significant intermediate-term and long-term trendlines. The shares have been mired in a tight trading range since the company's August 15 warning that weakness in the farm equipment sector will likely continue next year, with retail sales in U.S. and Canada forecasted to be flat to five percent lower.

In DE's options pit today, 4,000 and 2,000 contracts have crossed the tape on the January 2003 25 and 30 calls, respectively. A 4,000-contract block transpired at the bid price on the January 2003 25 call, indicating a potential put sell. This is presently the most-active put contract on the AMEX. In addition, a 2,000-contract block went off at the ask price on the January 2003 30 call, which should translate to new positions since the option has open interest of just 13 contracts.

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by 8/29/2000 12:47 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Rambus (RMBS 78-3/8) licenses a series of memory chips that are used in PCs, video games, and other electronics. Today, RMBS is trading nearly seven percent lower and is one of the most-active names on the Nasdaq Composite. This decline was spurred by last night's news that Micron Technology (MU 87-15/16) filed a lawsuit claiming that RMBS violated anti-trust laws and holds invalid patents on some of its technology.

RMBS has seen moderate put activity in the November series today. More than 1,200 contracts have traded at the November 45 strike, while over 1,300 contracts crossed the tape on the November 70 put. These are the only RMBS options seeing any significant option volume so far today. <
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by 8/29/2000 12:32 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Bottomline Technologies (EPAY 29-1/4) creates software that enables businesses to convert to electronic funds systems. The firm's high-profile clients include American Express (AXP 59-5/16), Hertz (HRZ 31-1/8), and Wells Fargo (WFC 43-5/16). Yesterday evening, the company announced its impending acquisition of two additional software firms. EPAY is purchasing British firm Checkpoint Holdings for $78 million and Boston-based Flashpoint for around $12 million. Both of these issues were already closely held by EPAY.

EPAY is trading off more than four percent on the news. This decline has taken the shares to their ascending 20-day moving average. The equity has not traded below this short-term trendline since August 3.<
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by 8/29/2000 10:45 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Slowly and surely, the S&P 100 Index (OEX 826.11) has been climbing toward its former high of 846 achieved in late March. This OEX rally throughout August has been the definition of a low-volatility tight trend. In fact, the index's current one-month historical volatility has fallen to a mere 9.8 percent, the lowest such level since March/April 1998. Looking at OEX option trading, there is little in the way of out-of-the-money call activity. The highest level of open interest on an out-of-the-money September strike is the 4,383 contracts of open interest on the September 860 call.<
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