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by 9/1/2000 9:17 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, the Labor Department released the August unemployment rate, non-farm payrolls, and average hourly earnings results. The U.S. unemployment rate came in at 4.1 percent, which was above analysts' estimates of four percent. Non-farm payrolls dropped by 105,000 versus analysts' estimates of an 18,000 decline. Although the drop in payrolls was far greater than analysts expected, the majority of the decline was attributed to layoffs at the U.S. Census Bureau and a strike by Verizon Communications (VZ – 43-5/8) workers. Average hourly earnings, however, remained benign with a 0.3-percent rise compared to last month's 0.4-percent increase. Today's numbers are being viewed bullishly by the market, as it bolsters the belief that the economy is slowing. After the report was released at 8:30 a.m., the September contract of the S&P futures (SP/U0 - 1535.80) rallied sharply higher. Currently, futures are up over 11 points, indicating a positive open.<
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by 8/31/2000 4:49 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
This morning, Talk.com (TALK – 7-3/16) was upgraded to a "strong buy" from a "buy" by a brokerage firm. In response to this positive fundamental development, the stock surged two points, or just over 39 percent, higher on above-average volume. The shares logged their top intraday mark since June 8, using their 10-day moving average for support. TALK is now perched higher than its descending 20-week moving average, a trendline it hasn't closed a week above since mid-February.

On the options front today, investors showed their conviction that TALK has more upside potential. The out-of-the-money April 10 call saw a whopping 11,064 contracts cross the tape on no open interest. This means that all of today's volume should translate into new positions. This was one of the most-active calls on the CBOE.


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by 8/31/2000 4:30 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Today's top performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU – 11,215.1) was banking giant J.P. Morgan (JPM - 167-3/16). JPM gained nearly 11 percent on the day, as a result of both a strong market and a relief rally following the takeover of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ – 88-1/2) by CS First Boston. JPM rallied yesterday as news came out that they would not be the buyer of DLJ. With today's strength in the market and financial issues, JPM has moved to an all-time high, its second straight. From its near-term low of 110 on July 3, JPM has added almost 52 percent. Its two-day gain of more than 12 percent has lifted the stock above the highest open call strike at 160. The most-active JPM option on the day is the September 155 call with over 4,000 contracts traded. This compares to open interest of 1,012 contracts.<
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by 8/31/2000 3:59 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
Today's release of the August Chicago Purchasing Management Association index surprised analysts by showing an unexpected slowdown throughout all phases of manufacturing in the Midwest, signaling a possible end to the recent torrid expansion. The NAPM business index fell to 46.5 from 52.0 in July. A reading above 50 reflects expansion in the manufacturing sector, while a number below 50 denotes contraction or slowing. The Chicago report is closely watched for clues as to where the National Association of Purchasing Management index, which will be released tomorrow morning, might come in.

Another bright spot in today's report is the drop in the prices paid index to 58.6 from 70.0 in July, nearly 16 points lower than March's high of 74.2. The new orders sub-index, an indication of future demand for manufactured products, fell from 53.9 in July to 43.3 in August, its lowest level since January 1991. <
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by 8/31/2000 3:14 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:
According to First Call/Thomson Financial, 487, or 97 percent, of the S&P 500 members have reported earnings for the June quarter. With the current earnings season essentially at an end, 30 percent of the reports have been positive surprises, while only four percent have reported negative surprises. Earnings for the quarter came in 21.9 percent ahead of last year's second quarter; 77 percent of these companies are above year-ago figures, while only 21 percent are below. The best-performing industry groups in terms of percentage above analysts' estimates are: utilities, 13 percent; energy, seven percent; and technology, which has bested estimates by six percent. The communications industry is the only underperforming sector, missing analysts' expectations by an average of one percent.
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