Energy Boosts Dow Jones Industrial Average to Triple-Digit Lead

FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) is smarting on the heels of an earnings miss

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is 145 points, or 0.9%, higher, thanks to a rebound in energy prices, as traders eagerly await this afternoon's policy statement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Elsewhere, the consumer price index (CPI) dropped a bigger-than-expected 0.3% last month -- its largest decline in roughly six years -- while on the earnings front, FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) is reeling on its fiscal second-quarter earnings miss, off more than 5% at last check. In other news, President Barack Obama spoke to Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today, potentially paving the way for reestablished diplomatic relations.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is casino concern MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), which is down 6.5% to sit near $17.63 amid news of a legal settlement with Tutor Perini. Though the shares earlier touched an annual low of $17.25, calls are flying off the shelves at 12 times the usual intraday pace. Traders are evidently eyeing a short-term rebound, by buying to open MGM's January 2015 19-strike call.

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

Mining issue Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) is one of the biggest losers on the Big Board -- shedding 10.6% to trade at $6.08 -- following a massive $9 price-target cut to $1 and "underperform" reiteration at Credit Suisse, which cited concerns about the company's $2.8 billion debt load. Earlier, the shares touched $5.63, their lowest perch since May 2004. Understandably, short sellers have been paying increased attention to CLF in recent weeks. During the latest reporting period, short interest on the equity jumped 9.7%, and now accounts for roughly half of CLF's total float -- which would take more than a week to buy back, at the stock's typical daily trading volume.

By contrast, drugmaker Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ASPX) has nearly doubled in value today to hover near $49.99, on the heels of encouraging late-stage trial data. This sharp gain -- which included a record high of $50.84 -- has vindicated the optimism displayed by analysts; all seven brokerage firms following ASPX have doled out "strong buy" opinions.

Daily Chart of ASPX Since August 2014

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has trimmed a portion of yesterday's bold move higher, down 1.6 points, or 6.8%, at 21.97.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.84, with puts nearly doubling calls. At last check, SPY is up 2.3 points, or 1.2%, at $200.19.

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