Dow Jones Industrial Average Loses Steam With Oil

3 Blue Chips Deemed Top Picks for 2017

Jan 3, 2017 at 12:04 PM
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Despite paring its early triple-digit lead, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is brushing off a relatively lackluster end to 2016, sitting comfortably in positive territory at midday. Stocks are losing steam along with oil prices, with February-dated crude futures down 1.7% at $52.83 per barrel, after earlier exploring 18-month highs. Meanwhile, traders are also digesting better-than-expected economic data. Specifically, the Markit purchasing managers manufacturing index (PMI) and the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index both impressed, and U.S. construction spending notched a 10-year high in November -- mirroring economic reports from overseas.

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Midday market stats Jan 3

Among the stocks with unusual option volume at midday is drugmaker Allergan plc Ordinary Shares (NYSE:AGN). Both calls and puts are running at roughly twice the expected pace for this point in the day, as the shares look for their sixth straight win. The most popular option so far today is the weekly 1/6 210-strike put, and it seems safe to assume buy-to-open activity is taking place here. As such, AGN traders are betting on the stock to retreat back below $210 by the end of the week, when the contracts expire. AGN was up 2.2% at $214.58 at last check. 

Xerox Corp (NYSE:XRX) is among the top gainers on the Big Board today, following the company's spinoff of Conduent and subsequent round of bullish analyst attention. XRX was last seen up 13.6% at $6.53. A close above the $6.75-$6.80 area could be big for XRX, as this region marks a 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of its slide since early 2016, and has stifled several rally attempts over the past few months.

XRX daily since january 2016

Disappointing drug-trial results have Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corp (NASDAQ:ITEK) at the bottom of the Nasdaq today, with the shares down 71% at $1.77 -- earlier touching an all-time low of $1.75. ITEK has now lost nearly 85% during the past 12 months. 

 The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.5 point, or 3.2%, at 13.59. 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.23, with puts outpacing calls. The SPY was last seen up 1.2 points, or 0.5%, at $224.76. 

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