WorldCom Puts Leap; Stocks Edge Lower

Stocks finished mildly lower Wednesday as profit warnings and downgrades in
the chip sector weighed on stocks. Oil services and Internets were the day’s top
sectors while semiconductors and telecom were the weakest.

At the close, the VIX had increased .44 to 26.43.

The OEX 740 calls are up 2 1/2 to 23 3/4.

Among bigger movers on heavier-than-average volume:

WorldCom
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fell 4 13/16 to 18 15/16 following an earnings warning.
The WCOM November 27 1/2 puts jumped 4 3/4 to 8 3/4 on more than 11,000
contracts.

Altera
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sank 8 3/8 to 32 9/16 on an analyst downgrade. The Altera
November 35 calls fell 4 7/16 to 2 1/16 on nearly 1000 contracts.

Infospace
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gained 2 13/16 to 22 15/16 while the November 25 calls
gained 15/16 to 2 on more than 6000 contracts.

CMGI
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helped the down-and-out Internet sector with a gain of 3
13/16 to 20 11/16. The CMGI November 20 calls rose 1 9/16 to 2 5/16 on more than
2000 contracts.