Dow Jones Industrial Average Charges Higher; Fed, Oil in Focus

Amazon's New Growth Story; Plus, Volume Surges on Fumbling Fitbit

Mar 30, 2016 at 12:14 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is flirting with year-to-date highs, as traders continue to react to dovish Fed remarks, along with the rise in oil prices. Echoing comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans this morning said "I'd be surprised if we met [the inflation target] myself in April," and predicted two rate hikes this year. Crude futures are continuing their rally today, after the Energy Information Administration reported a 2.3-million-barrel rise in domestic crude inventories -- smaller than the 2.6 million increase reported Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute -- and said U.S. oil production and gasoline supplies fell. May-dated crude was last seen 2.9% higher at $39.39 a barrel.  

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Among the stocks with unusual option volume today is steel producer AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS), where calls are crossing the tape at seven times the average intraday rate. About 30,000 contracts have changed hands so far, compared to a mere 589 puts. The resulting put/call volume ratio of 0.02 is in the 1st percentile of its annual range. Among the most active options today is the weekly 5/6 4.50-strike call, where it looks like one trader bought to open several blocks, expecting the security to resume its 2016 rally through the option's expiration in early May. AKS was last seen up 1.2% at $4.22.

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) is among the top performers on the Nasdaq at midday, up 10.9% at $26.40, as traders react to Tuesday's encouraging drug news. The stock was halted in yesterday's session pending an FDA decision, but with help from a bullish brokerage note has so far today trimmed its year-to-date loss to 26.4%. But the shares could run out of steam if they run into resistance at their 100-day moving average. 


Among the biggest laggard on the Big Board, meanwhile, is Opko Health Inc. (NYSE:OPK), last seen off 7.9% at $10.20. And like ACAD, OPKO's big move is largely FDA-inspired, as an application for the company's new treatment for secondary hyperparathyroidism was rejected.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.3 point, or 2.2%, at 13.52, after earlier hitting a year-to-date low of 13.06.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.57, with puts significantly outnumbering calls. In fact, SPY put volume is going off at 1.5 times the average intraday pace. SPY was last seen up 1.41 points, or 0.7%, at $206.64.


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