Dow Jones Industrial Average Pares Triple-Digit Drop; Data Disappoints

Auto sales were negatively impacted last month by winter weather

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 1, 2015 at 11:58 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was sitting on a nearly 200-point deficit earlier, but has managed to pare its losses despite a raft of downbeat economic data. Among the numbers traders are digesting are a weaker-than-expected ADP employment report, an unanticipated drop in construction spending, and the latest Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index -- which revealed factory activity expanded at its slowest rate in nearly two years. Also, auto sales slowed slightly in March due to ongoing wintry weather, with sales at Detroit darlings Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) retreating on a year-over-year basis. Finally, central bank officials continue to make the rounds -- including Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, who earlier said he still expects an interest-rate hike between June and September despite a weak first quarter.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call activity is Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD), with the contracts crossing at five times the usual intraday rate. The retailer's most active option by far is the weekly 4/2 47-strike call. At last check, SHLD was up 5.2% at $43.51, thanks to a pair of fundamental developments.

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

China Southern Airlines Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:ZNH) is one of the biggest gainers on the Big Board, up 7.4% at $38.70 at last check. The overseas carrier is getting a lift from China's decision to raise the fuel surcharge threshold for domestic flights, which should reduce travel costs for passengers. ZNH has now advanced roughly 62% year-to-date, and earlier touched a four-year high of $38.79.

Biotech Dyax Corp. (NASDAQ:DYAX) is the leading advancer on the Nasdaq, shooting 46.6% higher to $24.56 -- and fresh off a 14-year high of $26.11. The shares are getting a boost from the firm's latest drug trial results, and a subsequent round of price-target hikes.

Daily Chart of DYAX Since January 2015

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.5 point, or 3.4%, at 15.81.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.71, with puts outstripping calls. SPY was last seen 1.1 points, or 0.5%, lower at $205.33.


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