Dow Jones Industrial Average Muscles Higher on Data; Jobs Report On Tap

Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a speech on economic mobility earlier

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 2, 2015 at 11:49 AM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) flirted with a triple-digit gain earlier on the heels of an encouraging jobless claims report, and remains solidly higher around midday. Specifically, first-time filings for unemployment unexpectedly dropped last week, stoking the market's bullish flames ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report. Also helping stocks are a surprise increase in factory orders, a smaller-than-anticipated international trade deficit, and a moderating dollar.

Meanwhile, the Street is digesting late-breaking news out of Greece that the nation will not exhaust its cash supply next Thursday, April 9, contrary to earlier reports. Finally, Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke earlier -- following a number of recent speeches from central bank officials -- and called for research into economic mobility to determine "which public policies are most helpful in building an economy in which people are poised to get ahead."

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable put activity is Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), with the contracts changing hands at five times the usual intraday rate. Even though the equity is 1.3% higher at $14.53, it appears option bears may be buying to open CHK's deep in-the-money April 25 put and out-of-the-money June 13 put. Just yesterday, it was revealed the company's chairman purchased 1 million shares of the oil-and-gas firm.

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

Online gambling issue 500.com Ltd (NYSE:WBAI) is the biggest advancer on the Big Board, last seen 18.5% higher at $12.35, on reports Internet lottery sales will resume in China following a temporary suspension and investigation by the government. However, the shares remain 29% lower on a year-to-date basis, and have underperformed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 43 percentage points over the last two months.

Daily Chart of WBAI Since January 2015

Biotech OvaScience Inc (NASDAQ:OVAS) is among the notable gainers on the Nasdaq, partially rebounding from yesterday's sell-off. At last check, the shares are 7% higher at $33.34, but still 24.6% lower in 2015.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.5 point, or 3.3%, at 14.61, surrendering its perch atop 15.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.28, with puts more than doubling calls. SPY was last seen up 0.8 point, or 0.4%, at $206.48.


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