Dow Jones Industrial Average Off 239; Biotechs Batter Nasdaq

Bears Are 'Winning,' But for How Long?

by Karee Venema

Published on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:17 PM
Updated on Sep 28, 2015 at 12:22 PM

After an end-of-week respite in positive territory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has resumed its downtrend -- last seen down triple digits. The blue-chip barometer is faring the best of its peers, though, with the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) once again being dragged down by biotechs, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) sinking further below its all-important 20-month moving average.

Weighing on investor sentiment are fresh signs of an economic slowdown in China and a lower-than-expected reading on pending home sales. Additionally, traders are digesting rate-hike predictions from one Fed official, flat readings on personal income and spending, and the latest batch of M&A news.

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Among the stocks with notable call activity is Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA), with the contracts crossing at four times the average intraday pace. The stock is up 4.6% at $9.49, on news the aluminum giant is splitting into two separately traded companies -- and option traders are targeting AA's weekly 10/2 9.50-strike and November 10 calls, where a collective 21,062 contracts are on the tape.

One of the biggest decliners on the Nasdaq is Heron Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:HRTX), which is down 16.8% at $25.40. After rallying last week in the wake of upbeat drug news -- and a subsequent round of bullish brokerage notes -- the biotech has plunged with its sector peers.

One of the top losers on the Big Board is alternative energy issue Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE). The stock is off 13.5% at $7.35 -- after earlier hitting a new two-year low of $7.04. Speculators have been abandoning SUNE's ship en masse in recent months, however, with the stock down 78% from its late-July six-year high of $33.45.

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The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 2.7 points, or 11.6%, at 26.35.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.70, with puts nearly doubling calls. SPY is down 3.3 points, or 1.7%, at $189.59.


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