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by 9/19/2000 12:36 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
America's number-one retailer, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT - 49-13/16), is trading nearly three percent lower in early afternoon activity. This adds to a steady seven-percent decline that the shares have endured since last Monday. Today's move lower has taken the stock below its 10-day and 20-day moving averages for the first time in nearly three weeks.

On the speculative front, the most-active WMT option today is the October 65 call, which has seen 1,065 contracts trade. Neck-and-neck with this front-month position is the March 50 put, where 1,042 contracts have changed hands. Three large blocks trading between the bid and the ask price accounted for nearly all of today's volume on the put. A variety of block trades have been executed on the October call throughout the day. <
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by 9/19/2000 12:22 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Potash Corporation Of Saskatchewan (POT – 53-5/16) is the world's leading producer of a fertilizer that contains potassium, nitrogen, and phosphate. Fertilizer represents around 70 percent of the company's total sales.

Today, POT is in the news after announcing that it should earn 70 cents per share in the third quarter. This is well above the consensus estimate provided by First Call, which expected quarterly earnings of around 41 cents per share. POT officials cited a 40-percent increase in nitrogen prices as reason for this impending upside surprise. The company should report its earning figures at the end of October.

POT shares have surged over nine percent on this news, gapping over four points higher out of the gate. This move has taken the stock above its 10-day and 20-day moving averages for the first time since August 22. Additionally, the shares have inched back above their 10-month and 20-month moving averages. <
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by 9/19/2000 11:56 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Clear Channel Communications (CCU – 57-3/8) has plunged over five percent so far today despite the fact that a brokerage firm began coverage of the stock at a "strong buy" rating. Today's drop has taken the shares to their lowest level since March 1999. The security is now trading well below all its key moving averages.

Not surprisingly, option activity on CCU has taken on a more pessimistic tone. Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) jumped from a reading of 0.5 on Friday. After adjustments for September options expiration, the SOIR now stands at 0.89. Today's action is also slanted to the put side. The October 65 put has seen volume of 1,010 contracts so far today. This activity crossed the tape late, making it difficult to assess the investors' intentions. <
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by 9/19/2000 11:15 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
The S&P Retail Index (RLX – 830.5) is struggling this morning, as it has wilted by more than 20 points, or over two percent. This retreat has taken the RLX back below its 20-day moving average, as the index appears ready to log its fifth consecutive losing session.

Top index underperformers so far today include Kohl's (KSS – 57-7/8), down 4.7 percent; Lowe's Companies (LOW – 47-3/16), down 3.3 percent; Costco Wholesale (COST – 33), down 3.3 percent; and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT – 49-1/2), down 3.1 percent. Like the RLX, KSS is now trending back beneath its 20-day moving average.

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by 9/19/2000 11:12 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Broker/dealer Goldman Sachs Group (GS – 115-1/2) reported this morning that its third-quarter earnings came in at $1.62 per share, surpassing Street projections by 11 cents per share. In response to this positive earnings surprise, the equity rose as high as 121-1/4 before scaling back and is now down over three points in late-morning action.

With this decline, the shares have breached their ascending 10-week moving average, a trendline that has offered perfect support on a weekly closing basis since early June. GS remains beneath both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages, which appear on the verge of a bearish crossover. Such a technical development could have bearish implications for the security's near-term prospects.

In GS's options pit this morning, 1,000 contracts have crossed the tape on the out-of-the-money October 100 put.


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