Dow Jones Industrial Average Extends Risk-On Rally

Weekly jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since early November

Dec 18, 2014 at 11:43 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is giving Wednesday's notable milestone a run for its money -- with the 30-stock index up 224 points, or 1.3% -- as traders continue to cheer a less aggressive Federal Reserve. Specifically, the central bank said yesterday it can be "patient" in regard to hiking interest rates. Additionally, an upbeat reading on weekly jobless claims, which fell to their lowest level since early November, is helping to stoke today's risk-on attitude. Meanwhile, amid this rally in the equities market, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has plummeted 6.5%, bringing its week-to-date deficit to 13.8%.

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

  • 2 ways NQ Mobile Inc (ADR) (NYSE:NQ) put players are lining up their bets ahead of tonight's quarterly earnings results.
  • Option skeptics are betting big on a longer-term slide for this rebounding energy name.
  • Plus ... Checking in on the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and other noteworthy stats at midday.

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is software issue Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL). Earlier, the security tagged a fresh 14-year peak of $44.98 -- and was last seen up 8.2% at $44.53 -- after a well-received earnings report was met with a round of bullish brokerage notes. In the options pits, call volume has soared to 12 times what's typically seen at this point in the day, with the stock's December 44 strike receiving the most attention.

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

Telecommunications firm Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (ADR) (NYSE:MBT) is one of the Big Board's major advancers. The equity has rallied more than 27% to trade at $8.20, as a rebound in the ruble helps buoy Russia-based stocks. Heading into today's session, the stock was staring at a 47.4% month-to-date loss, and, as such, its Relative Strength Index (RSI) is docked at 12 -- deep in oversold territory. In other words, a near-term bounce may have been in the cards.

Biotechnology firm OvaScience Inc (NASDAQ:OVAS) is one of the biggest gainers on the Nasdaq. The stock is up 34.5% at $47.02 -- and earlier hit a record high of $49.94 -- after news the company achieved its 2014 corporate goals and received no fewer than six price-target hikes. The most optimistic outlook came from H.C. Wainwright, which boosted its target price by $60 to $100, and reiterated its "buy" rating. Year-to-date, the shares have now grown more than fivefold, leaving the door wide open for more upwardly revised price targets. At present, the consensus 12-month price target of $34.20 sits well below current trading levels.

Daily Chart of OVAS Since January 2014

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 1.3 points, or 6.5%, at 18.17, but appears to have found a foothold atop the 16 mark, from which it bounced earlier. The market's "fear barometer" has not closed south of 16 since Dec. 9.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.14, with puts having a slight edge over calls. At last check, SPY is up 2.7 points, or 1.3%, at $204.50.


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