Dow Jones Industrial Average Charges Higher on China, Oil

Why Now Could Be a Great Time to Own Stocks

Feb 29, 2016 at 12:07 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has explored both sides of breakeven, but was last seen comfortably higher, as stocks react to rising oil prices and China's latest central bank move. Crude oil for April delivery was last seen 2.4% higher at $33.56 a barrel. However, soft economic data could be keeping the Dow's gains in check. Pending home sales fell 2.5% in January, compared to an expected gain of 0.5%, and the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) dropped into contraction territory. 

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

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BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is among stocks with unusual option volume at midday, with calls crossing the tape at three times their typical intraday pace, after the company announced its entrance into the cybersecurity sector last week. Most of the action is attributable to a multi-exchange sweep of weekly 4/1 9-strike calls, which were seemingly bought to open. Option traders have been favoring bullish bets on BBRY at an extreme rate in recent weeks -- at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), the stock's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 14.10 is higher than 95% of all readings in the past year. BBRY is 3.8% higher at $7.74.

Among the top performers on the Nasdaq today is TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ:TASR), last seen up 11.4% at $19.47 after blowing past earnings expectations. The stock is making a comeback from an annual low, tapped in late January, and could get a continued boost if the abundance of a short sellers abandon their bearish positions.

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Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) is among the biggest laggards on the Big Board, following CEO Michael Pearson's return from an extended sick leave and a delay in the company's quarter earnings report. VRX was the target of a round of bearish brokerage notes this morning, and is trading 7.1% lower at $74.96.
 
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.4 points, or 1.9%, at 19.43.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 0.63, with calls significantly outpacing puts. In fact, today's put/call ratio is on pace for an annual low. SPY was last seen 0.3 points, or 0.2 %, higher at 195.39.

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