Dow Jones Industrial Average Down; Crude Crushes $60

The Biotech Soaring on Soros News

May 5, 2015 at 11:41 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is being pressured today -- and appears on track to snap its two-day winning streak -- by disappointing trade data. Specifically, the trade gap in March was the biggest since December 1996, while the deficit widened the most in six years. Furthermore, the gap was larger than what was indicated in last week's preliminary first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures, and some economists now expect a first-quarter GDP contraction. At last check, only four blue chips were in the green at midday -- one of which hit an all-time high following a well-received earnings report. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is also lower, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) has once again surrendered 5,000, and crude oil has taken back $60 on reports that Libya has halted production and Saudi Arabia has raised selling prices.


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Among the stocks with notable option volume is beauty products specialist Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL), with the contracts changing hands at 14 times the average intraday pace. The stock is up 5.6% at $88.18 -- and fresh off a record high -- following better-than-expected earnings. Not everyone is convinced EL will sustain this positive price action, though, with buy-to-open activity detected at the equity's May 87.50 put.


The biggest gainer on the Nasdaq is Golar LNG Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:GLNG), after the natural gas issue announced a freshly inked contract with Ophir Energy. The shares are up 27.6% at $48.04, and have now erased their year-over-year deficit. However, option traders are calling for even more upside; specifically, a round-number breakout over the next two months.

Conversely, one of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq is Qualys Inc (NASDAQ:QLYS). Shares of the cybersecurity firm are down 27.6% at $39.87, thanks to uninspiring guidance and a subsequent round of downbeat analyst attention. As a result of today's bear gap, the equity is on pace to close south of its 120-day moving average for the first time since Aug. 28.



The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 1.5 points, or 11.4%, at 14.31.


Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.64, with puts nearly tripling calls. At last check, SPY is down 1.4 points, or 0.7%, at $209.89.



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