Schaeffer's Midday Options Update Features Orbitz, Cendant,

American Greetings, Tractor Supply Company, and ASML Holding 
Business Editors
Today's Schaeffer's Midday Options Update Features
Orbitz (Nasdaq:ORBZ), Cendant (NYSE:CD), American Greetings (NYSE:AM),
Tractor Supply Company (Nasdaq:TSCO), and ASML Holding (Nasdaq:ASML).
The Midday Options Update contains a brief commentary on the day's
most notable activity and a table listing the most active calls and
puts for the day. The Midday Options Update is published every day at - the home of Bernie Schaeffer and
Schaeffer's Investment Research. For additional information about this
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on the following link. 
Schaeffer's Midday Options Update for Wednesday: Is ASML Hold(ing)
This morning, one last revision was made to the second-quarter
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure. The final revision showed growth
of 3.3 percent, higher than the previous estimate of 2.8 percent. The
number also topped the Street's estimate for 3.1-percent growth. The
encouraging news is that there was no hike in inflation accompanying
the revision. A build-up in inventories was seen as the catalyst for
the better-than-expected reading. However, this build-up now needs to
translate into sales. The three major indexes have responded
accordingly, making modest gains. 
Believe it or not, oil has had an effect on the market this
morning. Blue chips overcame early weakness, while the Nasdaq
continued to gain on the latest news released concerning oil. Both the
Energy Department and the American Petroleum Institute reported a rise
in oil stocks for the week ended September 24, a surprising
development. A majority of analysts had expected a drop in oil
supplies thanks to Mother Nature's onslaught of hurricanes limiting
oil output and shipments out of the Gulf of Mexico. This expected drop
was thought to be a catapult for oil prices, possibly sending the
price per barrel well past the $50 mark and into the $60-per-barrel
realm. However, today's surprise prompted oil for November delivery to
dip 75 cents to $49.15, after hitting its all-time high of $50.47
yesterday. For more information on this morning's announcement, read
"Crude Inventories Rise." 
Vacation Planning 
Orbitz (NASDAQ:ORBZ) has reached astronomical heights today after
agreeing to be purchased by Cendant (NYSE:CD) for $27.50 per share, or
$12.5 billion in cash. The price offered by CD is 32 percent above
ORBZ's closing price on Tuesday. CD plans to add ORBZ to its already
impressive lineup of Avis, Budget, and Days Inn. The purchase is made
with the hopes that ORBZ will help build CD's computerized reservation
system, Galileo, in order to boost its online travel business. This is
welcome news for ORBZ who, since going public last December at $26 per
share, has not taken off. Other online travel sites have welcomed this
news, as (PCLN), IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI), and Sabre
Holdings (TSG) have all rallied. 
Earnings are in the Cards 
American Greetings (NYSE:AM) has seen its shares climb more than
three percent this morning after releasing its second-quarter
earnings. The greeting card company saw profits of 10 cents per share,
a major improvement over the 15-cent-per-share loss seen in the same
period last year. The company's profits also came in well ahead of the
Street's expectation of a loss of one cent per share. Chief executive,
Zev Weiss, credits improved licensing income along with a reduction in
supply chain costs and interest expenses for the jump in earnings.
Weiss then estimated that third-quarter earnings would come in between
67 and 72 cents per share along with fiscal-year earnings totaling
between $1.46 and $1.51. 
Short Supply 
Shares of Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO) have slipped
slightly more than five percent today, after the company announced
that third-quarter earnings would come in lower than previous
expectations. TSCO had previously forecast that profits would come in
between 21 to 24 cents per share; however, the company reported that
earnings will now fall to 16-18 cents per share. The blame for the
lower guidance falls on reset activity, uninsured losses, and
increased legal and accounting expenses. Excluding one-time items,
earnings are expected arrive between 20 and 23 cents per share, well
below the Street's estimate of 28 cents per share. 
Most-Active Options Update 
At 12:42 p.m. eastern time, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA
- 10,091.8) is up 0.14 percent and the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1111.48)
is higher by 0.13 percent. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 1890.9) is up
1.12 percent. At 12:43 p.m. in the options pits, 1,208,831 calls and
925,180 puts traded for a composite put/call ratio across all five
exchanges of 0.76. The CBOE put/call ratio for equity options weighed
in at 0.66. 
ASML Holding 
According to Hoover's, ASML Holding (NASDAQ:ASML) is one of the
world's largest makers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. In
particular, the company is in the market of creating specialized
photolithography systems used to imprint microscopic circuitry
patterns onto silicon wafers. It would seem, however, that the chip
maker has disappointed investors with a news release this morning.
ASML announced earlier that it was becoming "more prudent" on the
fourth quarter due to concerns that orders for the period may be
pushed out into 2005. The firm noted that five to 10 lithography
systems orders could be held over into 2005, which would reduce gross
margin by approximately one percentage point. 
On the news, ASML shares tumbled more than four percent, gapping
below potential support at the 13 level. From a longer-term
perspective, the equity has given back more than 44 percent since
setting a near-term peak at 22.67 in January. What's more, since
breaching support at its 10-week and 20-week moving averages in
mid-January, these intermediate-term trendlines have capped all
advances for the shares. This rash of technical weakness has taken the
shares below support at their 20-month moving average, and is
threatening to push ASML below long-term support at the 12 level. The
stock has not traded below this key level of support since August
ASML's mixed sentiment picture offers little in the way of a
definite direction for the stock. While pessimism is on the rise among
investors, it may still have room to run in that respect. Naturally,
due to today's announcement, ASML options were flying off the shelves
in the options pits this morning. So far today, the security's October
12.50 put and call have seen heavy volume of 3,560 and 5,847
contracts, respectively. Furthermore, ASML's Schaeffer's put/call open
interest ratio is leaning toward the bearish end of the spectrum at
0.45 in the 65th percentile. While this reading portends a pessimistic
opinion from options traders, it is far from an extreme reading,
indicating that the trend may yet continue. 
The situation is similar among short sellers. Short interest
increased by a none-too-shabby 22 percent over the past month, but the
resulting 8.42 million ASML shares sold short could still be covered
in slightly more than three days at the stock's average daily trading
volume. Additionally, this short position accounts for only 1.76
percent of the security's total float, thus lessening the impact of a
covering rally. 
Even Wall Street is walking the fence when it comes to ASML. Zacks
reports that the equity has garnered four "buys," three "holds," and
one "sell" rating. Given today's concerning news regarding profits and
gross margins for the coming quarters, any downgrades could finally
force ASML below support at the 12 level, adding selling pressure to
the equity's decline. 
Click the following link to see the Weekly Chart of C since March
2004 with 10-Week and 20-Week Moving Averages: . 
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Tom Godich, 513-589-3800
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