Dow Jones Industrial Average Loses Steam Near 20,000

30 Stocks to Add to Your Christmas Wish List

Dec 21, 2016 at 11:52 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is hitting the proverbial pause button on its quest for 20,000, modestly lower after yesterday's record high. Even Dow stock Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), which jumped at the open on upbeat earnings, has drifted back near breakeven. On the data front, existing home sales for November unexpectedly rose to a near 10-year high, while U.S. crude inventories surprisingly increased last week, pressuring oil prices. At last check, February-dated crude futures were down 0.4% at $53.10 per barrel.

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

midday market stats dec 21

Among the stocks with unusual options volume at midday is FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX), fresh off an earnings miss. With the shares down 2.6% at $193.65, FDX options are trading at five times the usual intraday rate. Seeing buy-to-open activity is the weekly 12/23 190-strike put, as speculators bank on further downside through week's end, when the option expires.

The biggest loser on the Nasdaq is Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:MACK), down 18% at $4.40 -- and just off a two-year low of $4.35. The biotech stock is sliding after the firm decided to halt a drug trial, and has landed on the short-sale restricted list.

mack daily dec 21

One notable outperformer on the Nasdaq is Monster Beverage Corporation (NASDAQ:MNST), advancing 3.5% to trade at $45.05. The energy drink stock is catching fire after being dubbed Jefferies' top large-cap growth pick.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is off 0.1 point, or 1.1%, at 11.33.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 0.66, with calls outnumbering puts. At last check, SPY is down 0.4 point, or 0.2%, at $226.01.

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