Dow Jones Industrial Average Drops With Yellen in Focus

3 Levels to Watch On This Soaring Drug Stock

by Karee Venema

Published on Aug 25, 2016 at 4:28 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tiptoed above breakeven near midday before eventually slipping back into the red. Specifically, stocks wavered amid a fresh round of hawkish Fed talk and a relatively strong batch of economic data, ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's Jackson Hole, Wyoming, speech tomorrow -- in which traders are hoping to find clues as to when the central bank may pull the trigger on its next policy shift. Elsewhere, declining healthcare stocks pressured the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP), as predatory-pricing rage took hold of the Street.


Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 18,448.41) shed 33.1 points, or 0.2%. Nineteen of the Dow's 30 stocks settled lower, led by UnitedHealth Group Inc's (NYSE:UNH) 1.8% drop. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) paced the advancers with its 0.7% gain.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,172.47) slipped 3 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,212.20) gave back 5.5 points, or 0.1%.  

After yesterday's massive pop, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.63) tacked on 0.2 point, or 1.3%.

Indexes closing summary 2 August 25

NYSE and Nasdaq stats August 25

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Outrage over Mylan NV's (NASDAQ:MYL) substantial price increase for its EpiPen anaphylaxis treatment continued to grow -- even after the drugmaker unveiled plans to take "immediate action" to help those in need. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said the move was more "a PR fix than a real remedy," while Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley said it "doesn't appear to change the product price." (Bloomberg)
  2. Shares of ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI) plunged 35% -- with trading eventually halted -- to a record low, after the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) said the for-profit educator is no longer able to enroll students with federal aid. Plus, the DoE is "slowing down" its student aid disbursement to make sure "ITT is handling its finances properly." (MarketWatch)
  3. The tech stock that's a "top defense pick" at J.P. Morgan Securities.
  4. Another dose of upbeat analyst attention did little to stop options traders from betting against Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX).
  5. William Blair cited millennials as the reasoning behind its Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) upgrade.

Quarterly earnings August 25

Unusual options activity August 25
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Oil prices rose today, even amid reports Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that no intervention was needed in the oil market -- seemingly backtracking on recent hints to the contrary. At the close, October-dated crude futures were up 56 cents, or 1.2%, at $47.33 per barrel.

Gold lost ground amid today's hawkish Fed speeches. By session's end, gold for December delivery was down $5.10, or 0.4%, at $1,324.60 an ounce -- the lowest settlement since July 26.

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