Dow Jones Industrial Average Keeps Wall Street on Edge

Will This Be the Most Volatile Year Since the Recession?

Aug 14, 2015 at 12:06 PM
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It's been a choppy morning for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which has been seen on both sides of breakeven. At last check, the blue-chip barometer was struggling to hold on to earlier gains -- as well as its weekly advance. In spite of this push-and-pull action, though, the DJIA has only explored a 67-point path -- and could be on track to break its impressive triple-digit trading streak.

Traders have been digesting the latest round of economic reports -- not to mention relatively lackluster gross domestic product (GDP) readings from overseas -- which includes increases in the producer price index and industrial production, as well as a slight drop in consumer sentiment. Elsewhere, crude oil appears to have stabilized after hitting a more than six-year low earlier, with the September-dated contract up 0.1% at $42.28 per barrel.

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Among the stocks with notable call volume is WuXi PharmaTech (Cayman) Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:WX), with the contracts changing hands at 15 times the average intraday pace. The pharmaceutical firm has popped 5.4% to trade at $43.55, on reports of a $3.3 billion merger, and option bulls appear to be selling to close their now in-the-money August 40 calls ahead of next Friday's expiration.

 

One of the top gainers on the Big Board is Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN), which is up 5.9% at $79.38 post-earnings -- more than the options market was expecting. Unlike fellow retailer Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M), JWN's second-quarter earnings beat analysts' estimates -- news that was met with price-target hikes at Baird (to $82) and J.P. Morgan Securities (to $87).

 

One of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq is El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LOCO), with the shares down 18.3% at $15.01 -- and fresh off a record low of $14.62. The fast-food firm last night reported lower-than-expected second-quarter revenue and projected dreary full-year same-store sales, and today's sell-off has LOCO on track for its worst day ever.

 

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The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.03 point, or 0.2%, at 13.46.

 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.12, with puts more than doubling calls. SPY is up 0.2 point, or 0.1%, at $208.88.

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