Dow Jones Industrial Average Down as Fed, Cisco Weigh

3 Biotechs Making Huge Moves

by Josh Selway

Published on Aug 18, 2016 at 12:20 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is in the red at midday, as traders mull over the latest Fed meeting minutes and a relatively upbeat batch of economic data. Meanwhile, although not expanding on yesterday's fairly hawkish take on interest rates, New York Fed President William Dudley said recent jobs data has reinforced his "view that labor market conditions continue to improve." Elsewhere, with the Dow last seen below breakeven amid Cisco Systems, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CSCO) post-earnings slump, energy stocks are outperforming, as crude oil climbs back into bull-market territory. Specifically, September-dated crude futures are 2.9% higher at $48.14 per barrel, thanks to increased speculation of an output freeze from major crude producers. 

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

Midday Market Stats August 18

Among the stocks with unusual options volume today is Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE:VG). Call volume is booming on the cloud communications stock following upbeat analyst attention, with the options crossing at 10 times the expected pace. The March 6 call is by far the most popular, where new positions are being initiated. VG was last seen 9% higher at $6.25. 

One of the top gainers on the New York Stock Exchange is oil-and-gas stock Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), thanks to another round of bullish analyst attention. Specifically, Deutsche Bank this morning upped its price target to $6 from $5. What's more, one of the firm's directors reported a purchase of some 50,000 shares. CHK was last seen 7.2% higher at $6.09, and has now added over 300% since bottoming at a 16-year low at $1.50 in February. 

Daily Chart of CHK August 18

One of the underperforming stocks on the Big Board is Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG). The stock has pared most of its 8% drop from earlier, but is still down 1.7% at $53.57, on news the company has settled with the U.S. government over allegations of emission violations. Still, HOG remains 18% higher in 2016 -- and continues to trade well above this former level of resistance.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.4 point, or 3.1%, at 11.81. 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.41, as puts outnumber calls. The SPY is up 0.2 point, or 0.1%, at $218.53. 

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