Rallying Crude Futures Lift Dow Jones Industrial Average Out of Correction

The Biotech at New Lows; Plus, CDC Smacks Lumber Liquidators

by Karee Venema

Published on Feb 22, 2016 at 11:52 AM
Updated on Feb 22, 2016 at 11:52 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has jumped out of correction territory in intraday action -- and into the black on a month-to-date basis -- as U.S. stocks take their cues from a big surge in oil prices. At last check, the Dow was up 200 points to linger near 16,592, while March-dated crude futures have rallied 7.1% to $31.74 per barrel following the International Energy Agency's (IEA) lowered shale production forecast. Not to be left out, the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) has also surged out of correction status.

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Among the stocks with unusual option volume today is mining firm Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF), with calls crossing the tape at 12 times the average intraday pace. CLF is up 9.1% at $1.98 amid a sector-wide rally, and it appears speculative call players are buying to open April 2.50 calls.

Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) is one of the leading advancers on the New York Stock Exchange today, joining CLF and other mining stocks in racking up big gains. At last check, AA is up 10.5% at $8.70, but appears to be running out of steam near its 100-day moving average -- a trendline that has been ushering the shares lower since December 2014.

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Healthcare stock UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) is the biggest gainer on the Dow, up 3.4% at $121.74. Helping to boost the shares are reports the government has proposed raising Medicare Advantage rates by an average of 1.35% next year.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 1.3 points, or 6.25, at 19.25.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.51, with puts more than doubling calls. SPY is up 1.3% at $194.50.

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