Dow Jones Industrial Average Pushes Higher on 'Hopeful' Yellen

Tesla's 'No Brainer' Deal

Jun 22, 2016 at 12:07 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is moving higher at midday, looking to keep its recent win streak alive, though trading volume remains light ahead of Thursday's "Brexit" vote. Elsewhere, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is testifying before Congress for the second straight day, where she described the recent weakness in U.S. job creation as "transitory." "I'm very hopeful that we will see a pickup in growth," Yellen added. On the data front, domestic crude inventories fell by less than expected, while existing home sales in May surged to a nine-year high. 

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

Midday Stats June 22

Among the stock with unusual put activity today is oil-and-gas stock QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP). The shares are down 5.7% at $18.23 -- even with price-target hikes from Raymond James (to $29) and J.P. Morgan Securities (to $21) -- after the company announced plans to purchase $600 million worth of land in Texas. Put volume has exploded as a result, running at over 176 times the expected intraday rate. This activity is almost entirely due to a block of 4,000 contracts that crossed at QEP's August 18 put this morning. 

One of the top gainers on the Nasdaq is travel site Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN), as the stock enjoys another round of bullish analyst attention. Barclays this morning raised the stock to "overweight" from "equal weight," and boosted its price target to $1,500 from $1,300, saying short-term concerns created a buying opportunity. This recent burst of bullish attention for PCLN isn't too surprising, since the stock stands 18% higher year-over-year, including a 1.6% pop today to trade at $1,366.93. 

Over on the New York Stock Exchange, Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB) is underperforming yet again, down 1.2% at $21.41, as traders consider the company's ongoing M&A-related legal battle. Despite the stock's struggles this week, it's rebounded nicely since bottoming near $10 in February, with the round-number $20 level and 50-day moving average seemingly stepping up as support. 
 

Daily Chart of WMB June 22

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.04 point, or 0.2%, at 18.52. 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is at 0.92, as calls slightly outpace puts. SPY is up 0.7 point, or 0.3%, at $209.11. 

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