Energy Stocks Pressure Dow Jones Industrial Average

Is a VIX Conspiracy Afoot?

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Oct 19, 2015 at 12:13 PM
Updated on Oct 19, 2015 at 12:17 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is modestly lower, as traders digest lackluster growth data out of China and a largely unimpressive round of earnings -- which are overshadowing an analyst-induced record high at blue chip Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE). Among other items in the Street's crosshairs, oil futures -- and Dow components Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) -- are lower after Chinese data exacerbated concerns about demand, while the NAHB housing market index jumped to its highest level in 10 years. Meanwhile, a rally in biotechs -- with a few notable exceptions -- has the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) comfortably higher. Looking ahead, blue chip International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) will report after the close.

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Among the stocks with notable put activity is semiconductor firm Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), with the contracts crossing at 10 times the average intraday rate. The stock is unchanged at $1.94, just a day after giving up ground on downbeat guidance. According to Trade-Alert, put sellers are initiating new positions at the January 2016 1.50 and 2 strikes, where blocks of 50,000 and 20,000 contracts, respectively, have changed hands.

The Big Board's top gainer is Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE:WTW), after this media mogul took a 10% stake in the company. At last check, shares of the dieting specialist are nearly 90% higher at $12.86.

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Among the biggest advancers on the Nasdaq is chipmaker PMC-Sierra Inc (NASDAQ:PMCS), up 13.8% at $11.65 -- and fresh off a nine-year high of $11.73. The stock is getting a lift from yet another buyout offer.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is off 0.1 point, or 0.9%, at 14.91.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.78, with puts nearly tripling calls. At last check, SPY is off 0.1% at $203.09.


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