Banner Week for Stocks; VIX Eyes Lowest Average Ever

The Never-Before-Seen VIX Stat

by Andrea Kramer |

Published on Jul 14, 2017 at 2:23 PM
Updated on Jul 14, 2017 at 2:36 PM

It was a banner week for the broad-market indexes, which are seemingly climbing a wall of worry. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) notched a series of record closes, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) muscled its way to an all-time high, and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is pacing for its best week since late April, and its sixth straight daily gain. Lifting the indexes was a continued rebound for tech stocks, as well as relatively dovish congressional testimony from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, which held even more weight after a round of lackluster economic data. Plus, even after a bombshell email about Donald Trump Jr.'s ties to Russia, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) -- already on pace for its lowest average daily close ever -- once again explored single-digit territory, even as VIX call volume took off.

Amazon, Twitter, Paypal Make Headlines Amid Tech Rebound

Among the tech stocks making headlines this week was Amazon, as the shares climbed back atop the $1,000 level in the wake of a record-setting Prime Day. Twitter stock also drew a crowd -- and is pacing for a record-setting eighth straight win -- as investors cheered new CFO Ned Segal. Elsewhere, Paypal stock surged to all-time highs, as traders applauded the company's deal with Apple. As the tech sector soared, the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) moved higher in step, and is set for a seventh consecutive win, even as the cost of "crash protection" on QQQ hits year-to-date highs.

Crazy Week for Retailers

It was a roller-coaster ride for retailers this week. The sector got off to a rough start on Monday, after Abercrombie & Fitch abandoned buyout talks. The news dragged on many other retail stocks, and had the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) flirting with annual lows. However, an upbeat forecast from Target helped retailers bounce back on Thursday, and speculators also cheered J C Penney's plans to open toy shops in all of its stores.

Rough Week for Snap Stock

Snap stock closed Monday at $16.99 -- a penny below its March IPO price -- and things didn't get much better from there. Shares of the Snapchat parent extended their journey to record lows, after IPO underwriter Morgan Stanley downgraded SNAP and cut its price target by 43% to $16. Echoing that, fellow Snap underwriter Cowen took aim on Friday, downgrading the stock to "equal weight," and slashing its price target to $17. However, not everyone was bearish; Stifel upgraded SNAP stock to "buy" from "hold," stating, "contrary to current sentiment, we do not believe the wheels are falling off Snap's user growth story." 

Earnings Season Kicks Off With Big-Cap Banks

On Friday, a handful of big-cap banks reported earnings, including Dow member JPMorgan Chase, as well as Wells Fargo and Citigroup. While the companies reported stronger-than-expected per-share earnings, the stocks took a dip in Friday's trading, sending the Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) lower. However, if recent history is any indicator, bulls may want to consider buying this bank stock ahead of earnings next week.

Next Week: More Earnings Roll In; Best Day to Sell Stocks

Next week, Netflix will get the earnings ball rolling, with the FAANG stock set to report quarterly figures on Monday. In addition, a plethora of blue chips are on the earnings calendar, including Goldman Sachs, American Express, Visa, Microsoft, and Johnson & Johnson (which just scored Schaeffer's subscribers big options wins). Outside of the earnings confessional, traders should note that Monday, July 17, is historically the best day of the year to sell stocks, according to recent data, but we've got you covered: here are the 25 best and worst stocks to own over the next few months.

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