Pfizer Saves Dow Jones Industrial Average; Biotechs Lift Nasdaq Composite

Exxon Mobil's Cautionary Tale for Options Players

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Nov 25, 2015 at 4:33 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) just barely managed a second straight win, with healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks taking the lead as energy prices fell. Low trading volume ahead of tomorrow's holiday kept things choppy today, but a round of solid economic data has most still preparing for the Fed to raise rates next month.

After struggling to stay in the black yesterday, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was the strongest among the major indexes today, with biotech leading the way on significant gains. Markets will be closed for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and trading will resume for a shortened day on Friday.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including

  • These two apparel names felt the heat from bearish brokerage notes.
  • Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL) got a long-overdue endorsement that could have bears hitting the bricks.
  • A cautionary tale on trying to interpret large options trades, courtesy of Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM).
  • Plus ... the latest round of data that has rate-hike proponents cheering, how Russia might respond to what Putin called "a stab in the back," and one pharmaceutical company sank while another made an amazing comeback.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,813.39) just managed a second consecutive day of wins, helped along by top gainer Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), as the pharmaceutical company continued to rebound from a drop Monday when it announced a major acquisition. Consumer discretionary names, including Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) were also among the top stocks on the blue-chip index. The DJIA added 1.2 points, or 0.01%, for the day.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,088.87) lost 0.3 point, or 0.01%, finishing in the red in the final minutes of trading after spending most of the day ahead. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,116.14) posted the largest gain for the day, thanks to huge gains for biotechs, including KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:KBIO). The index trended steadily higher throughout the day, adding 13.3 point, or 0.3%, by the close.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.19) settled lower today, dropping 0.7 points, or 4.7%.

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Initial jobless claims came in lower than expected, at 260,000 versus the predicted 270,000, indicating a healthy labor market. This is just the latest in a line of economic data that has traders upping their bets on an interest rate hike next month. (​CNBC​) 
  2. Tensions remained high between Russia and Turkey, as officials are still struggling to uncover the facts behind the downing of a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated that the country has no intention of going to war with Turkey, but other forms of retaliation, including economic, are still a strong possibility. (Reuters)
  3. Disappointing FDA news left this drugmaker floundering, while many of its sector peers enjoyed a good day on charts.
  4. An incredible rebound for KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: KBIO) sent short sellers scrambling for the exits.
  5. This single-serve coffee specialist had options traders singing a new tune on its surprising rally.

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Commodities:

The geopolitical tensions that acted as support for oil yesterday faded through the day today, but a drop in the number of operating U.S. oil rigs helped the commodity to eke out a gain by the close. Crude oil for January delivery settled higher by 17 cents, or 0.4%, at $43.04 a barrel.

Solid economic data boosted the value of the dollar, along with the chances of a December rate hike, leaving the safe-haven metal to dwindle in response. By the end of the day, December-dated gold futures dropped $3.80, or 0.4%, to close at $1,070.00 an ounce.


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