Oil, Rate-Hike Fears Sink Dow Jones Industrial Average

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Aug 31, 2016 at 12:01 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is spending another session in the red -- and is now set to end August with a loss -- as falling oil prices and continuing rate-hike jitters weigh on stocks. Specifically, crude oil for October has shed 2.9% to $45.00 per barrel after the weekly report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed U.S. stockpiles climbed by 2.3 million barrels -- more than double the increase expected. Meanwhile, this morning's relatively upbeat employment report from ADP has traders considering how a strong nonfarm payrolls report this Friday could increase the odds of an interest rate hike as soon as next month.

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Midday Market Stats August 31

Goldcorp Inc. (USA) (NYSE:GG) is among the stocks with unusual options volume at midday. The shares are off 0.4% at $15.41 today, after slumping with the price of gold in recent weeks. At last check, the stock's puts are changing hands at four times the average intraday rate, and total options volume is on pace to hit an annual high. The September 15.50 put is the most active option so far, thanks to a block of 6,000 contracts that traded mid-morning, but calls are otherwise dominating today's action, nearly doubling puts on an absolute basis.

Among the top performers on the Nasdaq at midday is restaurant stock Bob Evans Farms Inc (NASDAQ:BOBE). Well-received quarterly earnings and an upwardly revised full-year outlook have helped BOBE add 4.6% to $40.46 today, bringing its year-to-date lead to more than 4%, and a short-squeeze situation could propel the shares even higher.

BOBE Daily Chart August 31

Biotech issue Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:RIGL) is among the worst performers on the Nasdaq, suffering a 10.4% correction down to $3.51 after jumping nearly 50% on upbeat drug data Tuesday. Worryingly for recent option bulls, RIGL has now dropped back below the level of its December highs.

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) has added 0.7 point, or roughly 5%, at 13.77.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.79, with puts holding a strong lead over calls. SPY was last spotted down 0.9 point, or 0.4%, at $217.11.

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