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by 1/16/2001 4:34 PM
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Another dot-com announced massive layoffs today. Today's victim was EMusic (EMUS 19/32), which said today it will cut 36 percent of its staff including its Chief Financial Officer and its Vice President of business development. The shares were off 15 percent on the news.

Like many of its forsaken peers, EMUS debuted in a successful IPO and never reached its initial heights again. The company, which enables consumers to sample or purchase music in MP3 format, has suffered at the hands of Napster and other free-music services. The equity debuted in June 1999 around the 35 level and has been heading lower ever since. <

by 1/16/2001 4:14 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Andrea Electronics (AND 3.50) manufactures "Anti-Noise" products including microphones and headsets. The firm enjoys high-profile clientele such as IBM, Microsoft, and Intel. The stock has been trading in single-digit territory since April but has nearly doubled in value since December 29.

Today, activity on the shares was notably out of the ordinary. Nearly 700,000 shares changed hands on AND today, in stark contrast to its average daily volume of 99,000. The shares were unchanged on the day and there was no news to spur increased interest.

Even more puzzling is the options interest generated in AND today. Over 2,100 contracts were executed on the February 5 call, while 5,480 contracts changed hands on the February 5 put. Open interest at these strikes prior to today stood at 791 and 500 contracts, respectively. The bulk of today's volume, some of which was indicated as a spread trade, crossed the tape during the final hour of the trading session. These were among two of the most-active options on the CBOE today.

by 1/16/2001 4:00 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
AnnTaylor (ANN 28) is an upscale retailer of women's clothing. Today, the stock has dropped more than five percent following news that its president and chief operating officer has resigned. Subsequently, Merrill Lynch reduced its near-term rating on the equity to a "neutral" from an "accumulate."

The stock's morning decline took it below its 10-day moving average for the first time since December 21, but the stock has since come back to overtake this trendline. Still looming closely overhead is the equity's 10-month moving average, which resides just below the 29 level. <

by 1/16/2001 3:23 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
A major brokerage firm lowered its ratings on a handful of semiconductor capital equipment stocks this morning, citing price volatility in the near term. Two stocks escaping negative comments and remaining as "strong buys" were Applied Materials, which is off by 3-1/16 (AMAT - 43-5/16) and KLA-Tencor, which is off by 3-7/16 (KLAC - 36-9/16).

KLAC is scheduled to report its second-quarter earnings tomorrow. Current Street expectations are for the company to ring in 55 cents per share.

KLAC shares had been attempting to emerge from a basing pattern in the 25-to 30-area and closed last week above their downtrending 20-week moving average for the first time since their September peak.

A block of 1,000 contracts traded at the ask price in the January 40 call series. Despite current open interest of 2,526 contracts, these appear to be new bullish bets ahead of tomorrow's earnings outcome. <

by 1/16/2001 3:02 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
All eyes will be upon tech bellwether Intel (INTC 31-5/16) as it reports earnings after the bell tonight. The stock is trading down less than two percent this afternoon ahead of the earnings announcement and after revealing yesterday that it will purchase Xircom (XIRC 24-21/32) for $25 per share. Investors are hoping the INTC conference call will give some guidance into the state of semiconductor needs for the near future.

The PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX 629.55), which had shown signs of new life toward the end of last week, has fallen below its 10-day moving average today. It is trading down about six percent this afternoon. Investors may be nervous ahead of earnings reports due out from several chipmakers in the next few days.

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