Dow Jones Industrial Average Succumbs to Profit-Taking Ahead of Fed

Housing starts unexpectedly declined in October, while building permits surged to a six-year high

by Karee Venema

Published on Nov 19, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) and broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) are retreating from record-high territory, as traders take some profits off the table ahead of this afternoon's release of the minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Ahead of the highly anticipated event -- which follows in the footsteps of a handful of central bank developments overseas -- traders are also digesting mixed housing data. Specifically, housing starts unexpectedly dropped last month, due to a decline in construction on apartments; however, building permits jumped to their loftiest level since June 2008. At last check, the DJI was down 0.1%, while the SPX was 0.3% lower.

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is home improvement retailer Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW), which is up 6.4% at $62.26 -- and earlier hit a record peak of $62.33 -- following its turn on the earnings stage and subsequent bullish brokerage note. LOW calls are trading at six times the intraday average, and it appears a number of these traders are closing out their November 60 and 62.50 call positions.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2.

One of the major Nasdaq decliners is drugmaker BIND Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:BIND), which is off 17.1% at $8.75, after the company released the Phase II study results of its anti-cancer treatment BIND-014. Year-to-date, the shares of BIND have now surrendered 42% of their value, which should be music to the ears of short sellers. In fact, short interest accounts for a healthy 11.7% of the stock's available float, and would take nearly nine sessions to cover, at the equity's average daily pace of trading.

Over on the Big Board, aluminum product manufacturer Constellium NV (NYSE:CSTM) is one of the day's leading laggards. At last check, the shares were down 15% at $17.83, following a poorly received earnings report. It appears option traders were anticipating a post-earnings plunge, as evidenced by the stock's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 4.69.

Daily Chart of CSTM Since January 2014

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.7 point, or 5.3%, at 14.60, and on pace to notch its first daily close north of 14 since Nov. 5.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.14, as puts more than double calls. SPY is off 0.8 point, or 0.4%, at $204.74.


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