Dow Jones Industrial Average Higher with Yellen on Tap

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Jun 15, 2016 at 12:14 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is higher at midday -- on pace to cap its losing streak at four days -- as stocks digest a round of economic data before this afternoon's latest policy announcement from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). While no change is expected ahead of next week's "Brexit" referendum, a 2:30 p.m. ET press conference from Fed Chair Janet Yellen will be closely parsed for hints on where central bankers stand. Meanwhile, oil prices have moved off their session lows, after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said domestic stockpiles fell for a fourth straight week, but came up shy of expectations. July-dated crude oil was last spotted down 0.4% at $48.28 per barrel.

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

Midday Market Stats June 15

Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) is among the stocks with unusual options volume at midday. The shares are bouncing back -- up 2.1% to $27.00 -- after finishing their worst session on record Tuesday. And with SYF still short-sale restricted, the stock's puts are changing hands at seven times their typical intraday rate. The July 26 put is the day's most active option so far, with over 6,000 contracts on the tape.

Among the top performers on the Nasdaq today is biotech stock EXACT Sciences Corporation (NASDAQ:EXAS), up 6% at $9.75 -- after surging nearly 20% out of the gate -- following a price-target hike from Canaccord Genuity. The stock reclaimed a major trendline on Tuesday, but still has a long way to go to close its October bear gap.

EXAS Daily Chart June 15

Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:WFM) is among the worst performers on the Nasdaq, shedding 4.9% to $30.92, after Tuesday's Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) warning was met with a downgrade to "sell" at Northcoast. The stock's options are hot again today, with some traders betting on a near-term bounce.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.9 point, or 4.3%, at 19.61.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 0.77, with calls having the rare edge over puts. SPY was last seen up 0.7 point, or 0.3%, at $208.72.

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