Dow Jones Industrial Average Nosedives 356; Boeing, Yellen in Focus

Analysts Ignore Elon Musk; Plus, Safety Seekers Rush Gold

Feb 11, 2016 at 12:19 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plunged out of the gate, and is down nearly 356 points at midday, set to extend its losing streak to a fifth session. Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) is leading the Dow's decline, plummeting 10% amid reports of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accounting probe. Traders are also considering further comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who admitted today that there is a "always some chance of a recession" for the U.S. economy, and that negative interest rates are not "off the table."

Meanwhile, crude oil is extending its own losing streak, with March-dated futures last seen 3.4% lower at $26.52 a barrel, and spot crude on pace for its lowest close in more than a decade. As such, traders are seeking safety in gold, with April futures up 4.4% at $1,247.40 an ounce, and flirting with annual highs.

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Among stocks with unusual option volume so far today is video game creator Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), where calls are crossing the tape at 10 times their typical intraday rate, with about 26,000 traded already. The February 60 call -- the most active contract so far -- has seen more than 23,500 contracts traded. Most of the action on the call appears to be buy-to-open, including a block of 20,122 contracts picked up this morning. This penchant for calls is a change for the security -- EA fell sharply after its late-January earnings miss, and options traders have been buying puts over calls at an extreme rate in recent weeks. 

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is among a short list of winners today -- in fact, CSCO is the only Dow component currently in the black. The company's earnings came in above expectations last night, and the stock is 8.6% higher at $24.44, likely sending options bears to the exits.


Among the worst performers on the Nasdaq is drugmaker Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY), down 20.6% at $57.52 -- and just off a new yearly low of $55. The company today said it would stop testing its cancer drug due to insufficient results. INCY has now shed nearly half of its value in 2016.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 2.7 points, or 10.2%, at 28.96 -- the highest level seen in more than three weeks.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.41, with puts outnumbering calls. SPY was last seen down 3.4 points, or 1.8%, at $181.93.

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