Dow Jones Industrial Average Reels as Crude Crashes

Inside Pandora's Breakout; Plus, the Drugmaker Bracing for a Drop

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 17, 2015 at 11:56 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) started higher out of the gate, thanks to post-Fed momentum, but quickly reversed course -- and was last seen sitting on a triple-digit deficit. Weighing on the blue-chip index are sagging crude prices -- with January-dated futures earlier breaching $35 per barrel -- and a round of mixed economic data. Specifically, weekly jobless claims dropped more than forecast, but the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing survey hit its lowest mark of 2015 at negative 5.9.

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Among the stocks with elevated put volume is retailer J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), with the contracts crossing the tape at 21 times the expected intraday rate. Bearish bettors are apparently responding to the stock's 5% drop to trade at $6.67. According to Trade-Alert, speculators may be buying to open JCP's January 2017 4- and 5-strike puts, anticipating long-term losses for the shares.

One the notable gainers on the New York Stock Exchange is cosmetics concern Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP), up 4.5% at $4.28. The stock is getting a big boost from Cerberus Capital Management, which has taken a 17% stake in the company.

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Among the top performers on the Nasdaq is Sunrun Inc (NASDAQ:RUN), which is extending its rally thanks to some upbeat brokerage attention. At last check, the solar stock was 4% higher at $12.09.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is 0.4 point, or 2.2%, higher at $18.26.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.06, with puts and calls trading near parity. SPY was last seen 1.6 points, or 0.8%, lower at $206.44.


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