Dow Jones Industrial Average Cautiously Higher Ahead of Jobs Friday

BlackBerry, Tesla Traders Take Sides Ahead of Big Reveals

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Mar 31, 2016 at 12:22 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is cautiously higher ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report. Traders are digesting a larger-than expected rise in weekly jobless claims and a rebound in the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI), along with additional comments from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who noted that the central bank's caution regarding interest rate hikes stems from "quite low" inflation, and said the Fed would prefer to try every other tactic before resorting to negative rates. The Dow and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are set to wrap up their best month since October, and -- despite the worst start to a year since the financial crisis -- end the quarter on a positive note.  

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


Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) is among the stocks with unusual option volume today, as contracts are changing hands at twice their typical intraday pace. Puts are outnumbering calls -- and account for seven of the 10 most active options -- with about 54,000 traded so far. But much of today's heavy volume is attributable to the June 30 call and put, where it appears a firm initiated a bearish spread, buying to open 22,500 puts and selling to open an equal number of calls, per data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE). VRX is down 3.4% at $26.15 today, and just notched a new five-year low of $25.75, after Canadian securities regulators issued cease trade orders for Valeant's CEO, CFO, and directors, including activist Bill Ackman.

Among the biggest gainers on the Nasdaq at midday is drugmaker Genocea Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:GNCA), up 25.7% at $4.99 after reporting positive data on a mid-stage trial of its genital herpes treatment. Today's big move has the shares above their 20-week moving average for the first time in over six months, but GNCA still has a long way to go to catch up with last summer's highs. 

After taking a dip Wednesday on layoff buzz -- exacerbated today by reports the company could cut 8,000 jobs in the U.S. --  Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) is continuing its downward trajectory, and is the leading laggard among Dow components, with a 1.8% drop to $126.29. After being rejected by its 200-day moving average last week, BA could be on track for its lowest close in nearly three weeks.


CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.1 point, or 0.5%, at 13.63.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.44, with puts outnumbering calls again today. SPY was last seen up 0.2 point, or 0.1%, at $206.27.

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