Dow Jones Industrial Average Pares Gains Despite Oil Rally

Analysts: Now Is the Time to Strike On This Chipmaker

by Kirra Fedyszyn

Published on Aug 8, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Despite an impressive rise in crude oil prices, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) erased its early gains and fell into negative territory. Likewise, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit a fresh record intraday high and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) touched an annual peak before also turning lower. September-dated crude futures have gained 2.9% to sit at $42.99 per barrel, amid reported talks of production cuts from some Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members. With no economic reports due today, stocks are taking a step back after Friday's huge post-jobs-report rally, awaiting retail data later this week, as well as a heavy round of upcoming retailer earnings

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

Midday Market Stats August 8

Among the stocks with unusual options volume at midday is online discount specialist Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN), where puts are changing hands at seven times the typical intraday rate. Most active by a mile is the weekly 8/12 6-strike put, with nearly 5,600 contracts on the tape, many of which have been bought to open. Buyers of the puts are betting on GRPN to remain below the $6 level -- which the shares haven't toppled in more than a year -- by the close on Friday, when the weekly option expires. Today GRPN is up 1.6% at $5.78 -- and just off an annual high of $5.94 -- to extend its post-earnings gains.

Horizon Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:HZNP) is among the top performers on the Nasdaq today, adding 6.4% to $21.40 after its strong second-quarter earnings report, to the delight of a bullish options crowd. Today's rally has HZNP doing battle with its year-to-date breakeven mark, with the shares running out of steam around the $22 level.

  HZNP Daily Chart August 8

Meanwhile, Denmark-based healthcare company Novo Nordisk A/S (ADR) (NYSE:NVO) is among the Nasdaq's worst performers, after a slew of brokerage firms cut their ratings and price targets on the stock. The company gave a disappointing full-year outlook last week, sending the shares plummeting below the $50 level for the first time since February. Today NVO is off a further 4.7% at $47.53.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.2 point, or 1.9%, at 11.61.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.99, with puts essentially doubling calls. SPY was last seen just below breakeven, at $218.10.

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