Dow Jones Industrial Average Eclipses Record; Dollar Soars

Dow Does It Again; Plus, Should You Play the Premium-Buying Odds?

May 19, 2015 at 11:47 AM
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It's been another wishy-washy day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), with the blue-chip index exploring both sides of breakeven, despite a rally overseas. At last check, however, the bulls are winning the battle, with the index taking out its all-time intraday high, set yesterday. Traders are digesting earnings from heavyweight retailers Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), as well as strong housing data, with one eye turned toward tomorrow's docket, when the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest meeting minutes will be released. Also, amid a strengthening dollar, crude is adding to yesterday's losses

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Among the stocks with notable option volume today is WMT, following an earnings report that missed expectations. Overall volume is at nine times the expected intraday rate, with both calls and puts accelerated. It appears traders are buying to open the weekly 5/22 78-strike call, in hopes of WMT topping $78 by week's end, when the contracts expire. On the flip side, bears are buying to open the weekly 5/22 77-strike put, gambling on more short-term downside. The shares were last seen 3.8% lower at $76.89. 

One of the top gainers on the Nasdaq is dining chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ:RRGB), thanks to a substantial increase in sales during the first quarter. The stock has picked up 12.3% at $81.92, which may spook a few near-term option traders. RRGB's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.25 is at an annual high, meaning short-term speculators are more put-skewed than normal. 

One of the top losers on the Nasdaq is retailer Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN). The shares have lost 17.4% to trade at $33.65, after the company released disappointing first-quarter numbers. The equity -- which has now given back all of its 2015 gains -- saw an onslaught of bearish analyst attention as a result. This included a downgrade to "neutral" from "overweight" and a $16 price-target cut to $34 at J.P. Morgan Securities. 




The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.1 point, or 0.9%, at 12.61, holding below 13. 


Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.35, with puts outpacing calls. At last check, the SPY was up 0.1 point, or 0.1%, at $213.23.



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