Dow Jones Industrial Average Taps the Brakes

Why Big Blue Is Keeping Tabs On Groupon

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Mar 3, 2016 at 12:19 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is tapping the brakes after a stellar start to March, as traders digest an unexpected rise in jobless claims, a smaller-than-forecast gain in factory orders, and a marginal drop in the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) non-manufacturing index. Meanwhile, crude oil turned briefly higher on revived expectations for a global production cut, hitting its highest levels since late January, but the April contract was last seen 0.3% lower at $34.57 a barrel.

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Among stocks with unusual option volume at midday is natural resource interest Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), which was last seen off 1% at $8.88 after a bearish brokerage note. FCX puts are trading at three times their typical intraday pace. Much of this volume looks to be attributable to a trader who bought to open a block of 20,000 April 8 puts against 620,000 shares, according to Trade-Alert

Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) is among the top performing stocks on the Nasdaq today, up 11.1% at $23.21 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed analyst expectations. Recently on the mend from the six-year low, the shares could be in for more gains if bearish short sellers continue to jump ship.

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Meanwhile, solar energy interest Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE) is among the worst performers on the Big Board at midday, down 14% at $1.54, after suspending its quarterly dividend. The company announced earlier this week that it would delay its annual earnings report, and investors may be understandably shaken. Reports also indicate that SUNE is now be having trouble securing funding for its planned acquisition of Vivint Solar Inc (NYSE:VSLR).
 
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is 0.2% lower at 17.05.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.86, with puts outnumbering calls nearly 2-to-1. SPY was last seen off 0.2 point, or 0.1 %, at 198.88.

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