Dow Jones Industrial Average Stays in the Red as Traders Await the Fed

The FOMC's policy decision is fast approaching

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:39 AM
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U.S. benchmarks continue to dawdle in the red ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) 2 p.m. ET policy announcement. It's not just stocks, though, as crude is showing no sign of rebounding from six-year-low territory, with U.S. inventories at a record high. Only nine of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJIA) 30 components were in the black at last check, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) being dragged down by a 2.5% drop in shares of Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE).

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable put volume is The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), with the contracts changing hands at 67 times the normal intraday rate. It appears new positions are being bought to open at the May 18 put, which has seen over 10,400 contracts cross the tape -- over 36 times as many as the next closest option. At last check, WU was 1.4% lower at $19.03.

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

Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is one of the biggest gainers on the Big Board today, after hiking its dividend, forecasting a promising future for cloud services, and receiving a number of price-target hikes. The shares were last seen 3.7% higher at $44.44, nearing their year-to-date breakeven mark of $44.97.

Daily Chart of ORCL since December 2014

Virgin America Inc (NASDAQ:VA) is one of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq today, dropping 6% to hit $32.37 after Credit Suisse initiated coverage with an "underperform" rating and $31 price target. The airline stock has now lost over one-fourth of its value year-to-date. Still, analysts are in favor of the shares, with six of seven covering brokerage firms calling them a "buy" or better.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is off 0.6 point, or 0.1%, at 15.57.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.03, with puts doubling up calls. SPY was last seen 0.5 point, or 0.2%, lower at $207.49.



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