Earnings Spark Dow Jones Industrial Average Rally; COMP Topples 5,000

'Too Much Smoke' Around This Biotech

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Nov 17, 2015 at 12:19 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is sitting on a triple-digit gain at midday -- thanks to post-earnings lifts from a pair of blue-chip stocks -- while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has returned to positive year-to-date territory and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) has hurdled the round 5,000 level. While energy stocks are feeling the weight of sagging oil prices, traders are digesting a raft of mixed data. Specifically, the consumer price index (CPI) rose in line with estimates, homebuilder confidence suffered a bigger-than-expected decline, and industrial production posted a surprise drop.

The Fed is also in focus, ahead of tomorrow's release of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) October meeting minutes. A couple of Fed governors are slated to speak today, as is former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, and current Fed Chair Janet Yellen said reforming the central bank -- per a House bill headed to the floor this week -- would be a "grave mistake."

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Among the stocks with notable call volume is toymaker Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT), as the contracts are running at 16 times the expected intraday clip. This activity is being powered by a block of 5,000 November 25 calls, which was bought to open, according to Trade-Alert. The stock has jumped 7.3% to trade at $25.51, after Jana Partners LLC revealed late yesterday that it's taken a 2.7% stake in the Fisher-Price parent.

One of the biggest advancers on the Nasdaq is Nuance Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NUAN), up more than 14% at $19.49, and fresh off a two-year high of $20.05. Shares of the software issue are rallying on upbeat quarterly results and guidance.

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One of the leading losers on the Big Board is long-term laggard Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE), down 15.6% at $3.85. Earlier, shares of the solar concern skimmed a two-year low of $3.72, after it was revealed that David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital cut its stake in the company by 25.1% last quarter. 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is off 0.4 point, or 2.1%, at 17.78.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.79, with puts nearly doubling calls. At last check, SPY is up 1.2 points, or 0.6%, at $206.80.


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