Dow Jones Industrial Average Eyes 18K on Chinese Stimulus Hopes, M&A Activity

Personal income and spending edged up in February

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 30, 2015 at 12:03 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) started fast out of the gate and shows no signs of slowing down, powered by stimulus talks in China, a rebound in energy stocks, and a number of M&A developments among pharmaceuticals. Also, on the economic front, personal income and spending for February both edged up, while pending home sales rose in spite of inclement weather. The DJIA is now closing in on the key 18,000 millennium level -- a perch it gave up during last week's drubbing.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable option activity is Intrexon Corp (NYSE:XON), with intraday volume running at seven times the average pace. Digging deeper, possible buy-to-open and sell-to-close activity is transpiring at XON's April 40 call. At last check, the stock is up 7.4% at $46.19, after the biotech firm announced a collaboration with Merck Serono.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2. Ltd (NYSE:WBAI) is the leading laggard on the Big Board, down 10% to trade at $10.60, despite a lack of notable drivers. The gaming stock is now off nearly 39% year-to-date, and has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by more than 33 percentage points over the past 40 sessions. Also, WBAI is once again on the short-sale restricted list.

Daily Chart of WBAI Since January 2015

Altera Corporation (NASDAQ:ALTR) is among the leading losers on the Nasdaq today, after getting hit with a round of negative analyst attention. ALTR was last seen 6.5% lower at $41.51, but remains 12.4% higher year-to-date. On Friday, the shares touched a three-year high of $45 on news of a potential buyout.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.7 point, or 4.5%, at 14.40, and testing its 10-day moving average.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.89, with puts nearly doubling calls. SPY was last seen 2.1 points, or 1%, higher at $207.81.

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