Bottom or no bottom for the market, some options traders seem to think that the rally has some short-term juice to it, but are just as wary of danger in the offing.
Traders expect stocks to continue their nice little rally, but the duration is what's becoming debatable. And some suggest that yesterday's lows among the major indices were not the big bottom investors had been looking for and that another washout could be coming down the road.
yesterday was the bottom," said one options trader. But was it The Ultimate Bottom? Probably not, the trader said, adding that he thinks the market will tank anew when people see their quarterly statements and it sinks in that stocks aren't going to return to where they once were. Once that reality hits, the market might see a nice little washout, driven by retail investors, then you might have
capitulation, the trader said.
options, as they usually do, were seeing a fair amount of volume as the stock slipped 56 cents to $19.19, moderately above its 52-week intraday low of $18.38.
Call-option buying by traders yesterday, however, has not spilled into today.
lowered its price target on Cisco to $29 from $37 and also trimmed earnings estimates on the networking giant for fiscal 2001 and fiscal 2002. The firm said it lowered its expectations because of "continued cautious public comments from the company and overall industry weakness, we think the near-term outlook remains challenging."
The heaviest trading in Cisco options was in the
out-of-the-money April 20 calls, where more than 6,000 contracts traded at the
Chicago Board Options Exchange
Friday morning. More than 2,400 of the April 20 calls traded on the
American Stock Exchange
James Quinn of
, the designated primary market maker in Cisco options at the CBOE, said there was customer buying of the April 20 calls yesterday, while today it's more people selling the options. The selling today could be traders closing out positions, or taking in premium against the chance the rally will run out of steam.
The April 20 calls were down 1/4 ($25) to 1 1/2 ($150) on the CBOE.
Action in options expiring further out was light, indicating that traders at least for today weren't making any notable wagers on Cisco down the road.