Dow Jones Industrial Average Tries to Break North on Mixed Earnings, Housing Data

6 Chinese Stocks Catching Heat: Plus, Record Highs for Facebook?

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:58 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has explored a relatively narrow range on both sides of the flatline, but was last seen lower. The bellwether is struggling to pick a direction following a mixed round of blue-chip earnings. Also, traders are mulling another batch of upbeat housing data against another yuan-induced drop in China, while gearing up for tomorrow's Fed minutes release.

 

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

 

 

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Among the stocks with notable option volume is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), with the contracts crossing at five times the usual midday rate. The shares are 3.1% lower at $69.68, and fresh off a two-year bottom of $69.55, on lackluster earnings and guidance. Digging deeper on the options front, one speculator may have rolled his bet down and out, possibly selling to close a block of 1,751 August 73 calls and buying to open a matching lot of September 72.50 calls.

 

The top gainer on the Nasdaq is drugmaker Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER), up 90% at $27.66 -- and fresh off a record high of $30.23. Providing a lift to the stock is another round of upbeat drug data.

 

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One of the leading winners on the Big Board is Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:HOV), which has soared 18.4% to trade at $1.87. The shares are rising in concert with other homebuilders, thanks to the aforementioned housing data.

 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.6 point, or 4.5%, at 13.60.

 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.49, with puts outstripping calls. At last check, the SPY is off 0.5 point, or 0.3%, at $210.07.

 


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