Options Trader: Weekend Ideas

by: Philip Davis

After coming off a no data week last week, we have an overload of information on deck for the next one.

Coming into the home stretch, with just 28 shopping days until Christmas, we will be hearing numbers, numbers, numbers all week to digest with the last of our leftover turkey.

Monday is relatively benign with the usual 3- and 6-month T-Bill auction but, with the M3 shenanigans on everyone's mind, they will take on a new significance.

Tuesday hammers us with the weekend UBS Store Sales report, Durable Goods Orders, the Red Book (before the bell), Consumer Confidence and Existing Home Sales at 10. At 1pm we have the 2-year T-note auction and Bernanke speaking in NY.

More housing data comes Wednesday morning with the MBA Purchase Applications report, but who will care with the GDP at 8:30 and actual New Home Sales at 10. They are looking for just 1.8% on the GDP, which seems very low to me, and I wonder how an upside surprise will be taken...

Just as we are trying to absorb that bit of news we get hit with a Petroleum Report at 10:30 followed by a dead-serious 5-year T-note auction at 1 which will all be forgotten an hour later when we see the Beige Book.

Just in case Wednesday doesn't leave us in a total state of data overload they are ready to hit us again on Thursday with Jobless Claims, Personal Income and Outlays, the Chicago Purchasing Index at 10, Natural Gas at 10:30, Farm Prices at 3 and the government's spin on the Money Supply at 4:30.

Before you start thinking the Money Supply is just coincidentally after the market closes on Thursday -- Uncle Ben is scheduled to spin speak about monetary policy Friday at 9am at the Fed. At 10 we get Construction Spending and the ISM numbers and right at the closing bell we get Motor Vehicle Sales to mull over for the weekend.

Ben will be backed up during the day by Philly Pres Charlie Plosser and Richmond's Jeff Lacker so we will get a pretty good view of the party line by then. If the M2 is as bad as I think, expect to hear from Greenspan on Friday as well.

The play of the week next week may be on those VIX calls, because if this doesn't wake it up, nothing will!


I may have found out why there were no major hurricanes this season. It seems there is a test project in place with a company called Dyn-O-Mat who had some early success in smaller trials controlling thunderstorms and were, as of last year, ready to test their systems on hurricanes.

Since you are messing with nature on a huge scale and there may be unforeseen problems (including environmental issues) it is possible that these tests have been conducted in secret as they were a big deal last year and then suddenly disappeared from the news!


Plenty of earnings are left and the remaining companies take on an exaggerated impact as the media tends to focus on their results more when they are not lost in the general noise of early November:

Frontline Ltd. (NYSE:FRO) reports on Tuesday, we played them well over the summer and I will be interested to hear what they have to say. Ship Finance International Ltd. (NYSE:SFL) reports in related earnings.

Also on Tuesday we hear from Consolation Prize Team member Restoration Hardware Inc. (RSTO) and teen retailer Chico's FAS Inc. (NYSE:CHS).

More news from the teen front from Aeropostale Inc. (NYSE:ARO) on Wednesday and our Team Queen, Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) as well as my pals from TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO).

Thursday H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) gives us expected bad news (we still have an open call we sold) and John Kerry gets to check his financial health as H.J. Heinz Company (HNZ) reports. Cheesecake Factory Inc. (NASDAQ:CAKE) will be interesting too.

Don't sell December short for earnings as we have Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE:TOL) (5th), National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:NSM) (7th), Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) (12th), Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ:COST) (14th), Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEH) and Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) (15th) as well as Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE:MTN), which tells me a lot about the economy.

Joy Global Inc. (JOYG) (18th) is also a nice economic indicator, Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE:DRI) and Circuit City Stores Inc. (NYSE:CC) (19th), FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) and NIKE Inc. (NYSE:NKE) (20th), ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) (21st), Boeing Buddy™ AAR Corp. (NYSE:AIR) is scheduled for Christmas day, which seems odd, but I think the calendar may get less accurate as it goes further out.


I finally got around to reading the MS Global Technology Trends report and there's some interesting stuff:

The top 5 Internet companies (Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)/Japan) are now worth $260b, considerably more than the $178b the top 5 were worth in pre-crash 2000.

  • Yahoo has 418M unique monthly visitors, more than all 5 major television networks combined
  • PayPal has 123M accounts, up 41% from last year
  • Web advertising will grow from 8-13% of all advertising this decade
  • iPods+iTunes = $16B in just 3 years of existence
  • Skype has captured 7% of global long distance traffic (136M users) indicating power users use Skype
  • 1 billion people will have phones with cameras (66%) by next year (the next "killer ap" will take advantage of this)

There is a widening gap between people who have cell (1.6b) phones and people who have web access (900m) and there will be big money addressing that. I propose a docking station that let's a laptop pull a web signal off a cell phone for developing nations.

Far more people have internet access (900M) than have cable TV (450M), yet cable TV gets $19B in ad revenues vs. $13B of on-line ad spending -- this will change fast! $57B is still spent to send you direct mail and another $97B on telemarketing despite recent laws being passed to curtail it.

I think MS and most analysts underestimate how fast advertising will shift to the web. Just $13B of $428B total U.S. ad dollars were spent on the net in 2005 and they project it to rise to just $22B in 5 years? All it takes is one successful campaign and the bandwagon will be jumped on fast!

Another thing I caught from the MS numbers was that eBay now lists 9 times more items (921M in '05) than all U.S. classifieds combined (111M), yet eBay's revenue is just $1.7B vs. $49.4B for newspapers.

Perhaps they are undercharging or simply not taking full advantage of the home and auto markets.


Office Depot Inc. (NYSE:ODP) and Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) get 25% of their total sales from the Internet but Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) gets just 7% of theirs that way. That is beyond bad! What the heck are these guys doing over in marketing?

Hello, Michael Dell -- 900M people are using the web ON A COMPUTER -- perhaps that's a good place to target!?!

Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does 7% of their sales on-line and J.C. Penney Company Inc. (NYSE:JCP) does 6%, so Dell's on-line sales success measures right around the level of "accidental."


For whatever combination of reasons, consumers are expecting to spend an average of $879 on gifts this year vs. $632 last year.

Not only is this a huge jump but an attitude like that can only lead to even bigger spending when they, in fact, hit the stores so I'm getting pretty bullish on retail.

I'm done for today but don't let me get past Tuesday without reminding me as we should get some nice opportunities in that space!

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