Dow Jones Industrial Average Tests 18,000 on China, Fed Concerns

2 Bank Stocks Sinking Before Earnings

by Celeste Taylor

Published on Oct 13, 2016 at 12:15 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is down triple digits at midday, even briefly dipping below the critical 18,000 level to hit its lowest mark since July. Stocks are falling on weak trade data out of China, where exports fell much more than expected. In addition, weekly U.S. jobless claims fell even further to remain near their 43-year low. This economic data is compounding concerns over a possible interest rate hike, which according to yesterday's Fed meeting minutes, could happen "relatively soon."

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Midday Market Stats October 13

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA) is among the stocks with unusual options volume at midday. ULTA is up 8.3% at $258.80, thanks to upwardly revised guidance, with options crossing at six times their average intraday clip. It looks like the weekly 10/14 255-strike put is today's most active option, with sell-to-open action detected.

Ocular Therapeutix Inc (NASDAQ:OCUL) is among the top performers on the Nasdaq so far today. The shares are up 18.2% at $7.46, after the biotech announced it would be partnering with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:REGN) to develop an extended-release formula for Regeneron's aflibercept. At last check, OCUL options were trading at 12 times their average intraday clip, though absolute volume is still very light, with just 670 calls and 105 puts on the books so far today.

Fluidigm Corporation (NASDAQ:FLDM) is the worst performer on the Nasdaq today, down 24.8% at $5.30, after the healthcare stock announced ugly preliminary third-quarter results and suspended its full-year forecast. Following its last test of the $11 mark, FLDM has given up more than half its value, and is now trading in territory not charted since February.

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The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 1.2 points, or 7.4%, to 17.08.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.59, with puts more than doubling calls, and trading at 1.7 times the average intraday clip. SPY was last seen down 1.6 points, or 0.7%, at $212.13.

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