3M, Lackluster Data Weigh On Dow Jones Industrial Average

The Flash Crash Blame Game; Plus, Analysts React to Facebook

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Apr 23, 2015 at 11:42 AM
Updated on Apr 23, 2015 at 11:45 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is struggling to muscle atop breakeven, amid the latest round of earnings and economic reports. Weighing on the index is a post-earnings drop at 3M Co (NYSE:MMM), as the firm slashed its full-year profit outlook, citing a stronger dollar. Other Dow components fresh off trips to the confessional are Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), which matched and topped the Street's earnings forecasts, respectively. Elsewhere, jobless claims surprisingly edged higher last week, new home sales suffered their largest percentage drop since July 2013, and manufacturing growth cooled more than expected.

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Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable option activity is CAT, with calls and puts both trading at more than five times the usual intraday rate. The accelerated volume follows the firm's successful turn in the earnings confessional -- though the shares were last seen 0.5% lower at $84.44, after CEO Doug Oberhelman warned the company "will not repeat this quarter the rest of the year." In light of this, some eleventh-hour traders are counting on an extended pullback through tomorrow's close, buying to open CAT's weekly 4/24 85-strike put.

Mobileiron Inc (NASDAQ:MOBL) is the biggest decliner on the Nasdaq, down 30% to trade at $6.65 -- and earlier touching an all-time low of $6.02. Sparking the downward gap was the tech firm's lower-than-expected revenue guidance, as well as a price-target cut.

Daily Chart of MOBL since June 2014

Skechers USA Inc (NYSE:SKX) is one of the biggest advancers on the Big Board, soaring 12.5% to trade at $85.30, and fresh off a record peak of $86.49. The rally is being fueled by the footwear company's first-quarter earnings beat, which prompted no fewer than four brokerage firms to raise their price targets on the stock. Meanwhile, SKX calls are flying off the shelves, with a number of speculators taking aim at extended gains.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.02 point, or 0.2%, at 12.73.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.72, with puts easily besting calls. SPY was last seen down 0.2 point, or 0.1%, at $210.49.

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