Dow Jones Industrial Average Rallies With Consumer Staples; Oil Bounces

Apple's Newest Competition

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Sep 20, 2016 at 11:48 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is trading solidly higher, as stocks rally amid the kickoff of policy meetings at the Fed and Bank of Japan (BoJ). As Wall Street awaits decisions on interest rates, the housing sector is struggling on downbeat data, while consumer staples and biotech stocks are outperforming. Meanwhile, traders are keeping an eye trained on oil prices, which have bounced back into positive territory after earlier losses -- with October-dated crude futures last seen 1.6% higher at $43.98 per barrel.

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

midday market stats september 20

Among the stocks with unusual put volume at midday is Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), as the contracts are running at 18 times the normal intraday pace. From the looks of it, buy-to-open activity is detected at the October 18 strike. The stock is modestly higher, though, up 0.4% at $20.70.

The biggest loser on the Nasdaq at midday is Ascena Retail Group Inc (NASDAQ:ASNA), down 27.4% at $5.90, following an earnings miss and a barrage of bearish analyst notes. Earlier, in fact, the retail stock touched a seven-year low of $5.80.

asna daily september 20

One of the worst performers on the New York Stock Exchange is Community Health Systems (NYSE:CYH). Shares of the hospital operator have tanked 4.5% at $10.60, following reports of a potential asset sale.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is flat at 15.53.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.79, with puts nearly doubling calls. Currently, SPY is up 0.5 point, or 0.3%, at $213.95.

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