Dow Jones Industrial Average Lower as Traders Brace for Interest-Rate Hints

The minutes from the latest FOMC meeting will be released at 2 p.m. ET

Feb 18, 2015 at 12:18 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is testing its footing atop the 18,000 mark today, with the blue-chip barometer last seen 34 points, or 0.2%, lower at 18,013.25. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is pulling back from record-high territory, as caution sets in ahead of this afternoon's release of the minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Traders will be looking for hints as to when the central bank may choose to raise interest rates. Also garnering some attention today is a fresh round of economic reports -- which showed factory activity increased at a slower-than-expected pace, while the producer price index and housing starts both declined -- as well as the latest developments from across the pond.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is medical device maker Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE:BSX). The stock has rallied roughly 10% to trade at $16.38 -- and earlier hit a seven-year peak of $16.48 -- after a $600 million settlement was met with a round of applause from the brokerage bunch. In the options pits, calls are trading at 11 times the intraday average, with buy-to-open activity detected at BSX's March 17 call. In other words, these speculators expect the equity to tag another mulit-year high over the next several weeks.

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

Wireless telecommunications firm Intelsat SA (NYSE:I) is one of the leading laggards on the Big Board. At last check, the stock was off 9.1% at $15.84, after the company offered up an uninspiring full-year revenue forecast. I is now sitting in the red on a year-to-date basis, and on pace to close south of its 20-day moving average for the first time since Feb. 2.

Daily Chart of I Since January 2015 With 20-Day Moving Average

Online real estate concern Zillow Inc. (NASDAQ:Z) is one of the biggest gainers on the Nasdaq. The stock is up 10.8% to trade near $121, after announcing its acquisition of Trulia. When combined with yesterday's post-earnings surge, Z is already staring at a lofty 13.6% week-to-date gain.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.6 point, or 3.5%, at 16.35.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.63, with puts nearly tripling calls. At last check, SPY is down 0.3 point, or 0.1%, at $209.84.



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