Dow Jones Industrial Average Cautiously Higher After Yellen Testimony

Valeant's Legal Drama; Plus, the Biotech Ripe for a Short Squeeze

Nov 17, 2016 at 12:20 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has traded in a narrow range on both sides of breakeven, as traders react to a slew of optimistic economic data and testimony from Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Speaking before Congress, Yellen said a rate hike could be "appropriate relatively soon," and denied claims that she could relinquish her post in the wake of Donald Trump's election win, saying it is "fully my intention to serve out my term." However, while the Dow was last seen cautiously higher, gains are being kept in check by post-earnings losses for blue-chip stocks Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT).

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Among the stocks with unusual volume at midday is solar stock First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), after announcing ugly guidance and significant restructuring plans. FSLR is down 5.2% at $31.12 -- and just off a three-year low of $28.60 -- with options crossing at nine times their average intraday rate, with calls outnumbering puts 28,000 to 24,000, and option volume on pace to notch an annual high.

Biotech stock Albireo Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALBO) is among the top performers on the Nasdaq today, currently trading 18.2% higher at $21.70, after LifeSci Capital initiated coverage on ALBO last night. ALBO has more than doubled so far in 2016, with data on its A4250 drug expected before the end of the year, and a meeting with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) slated for the first quarter of 2017.

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Shipping stock DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS) is among the worst performers on the Nasdaq today, dropping 60% to $29.20 -- triggering several halts and a spot on the short-sale restricted list. After a monster rally from shipping stocks, DRYS is taking a breather, and the company announced it had registered for a direct offering. Even with today's drop, DRYS has more than doubled in the past week.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.3 point, or 2.3%, at 13.41.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.72, with puts leading calls. At last check, SPY was down 0.3%, or 0.7 point, at $218.60.

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