Schaeffer's Midday Options Update Features Orbitz, Cendant,

 American Greetings, Tractor Supply Company, and ASML Holding  Business Editors CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 29, 2004 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 report or to have it delivered to you free via email every day click on the following link.  Schaeffer's Midday Options Update for Wednesday: Is ASML Hold(ing) On?  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.  Oil...Again  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 2003.  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: .  The best way to take advantage of the timely Schaeffer commentaries is to sign up to receive their free e-newsletters -- Opening View, Market Recap and Monday Morning Outlook. Click here to have the Schaeffer's commentaries delivered to you free via email every day.  About Schaeffer's Investment Research (  Schaeffer's Investment Research, founded by Bernie Schaeffer in 1981, is a financial information and trading resources company. It publishes Bernie Schaeffer's Option Advisor, the nation's leading options subscription newsletter. The firm's contrarian approach focuses on stocks with technical and fundamental trends that run counter to investor expectations. The firm's website, , is recognized as one of the leading information sources for stock and options traders and was cited as the top options website by both Forbes and Barron's. Click here for more details about Schaeffer's trading methodology: .  CONTACT: Schaeffer's Tom Godich, 513-589-3800 Email: