Political Tensions Weigh on Dow Jones Industrial Average

2 Sinking Apple Suppliers; Plus, Amazon Earnings On Tap

Feb 2, 2017 at 12:09 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has explored both sides of breakeven today, but was last seen modestly lower. Growing political tensions between the U.S. and several countries seem to be weighing on stocks, largely overshadowing a round of well-received corporate earnings reports, as well as upbeat economic data ahead of tomorrow's key nonfarm payrolls report. Investors continue to digest yesterday's Fed announcement, too, as the central bank left interest rates unchanged, and offered few hints regarding the timing of its next rate hike.

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

Midday Market Stats February 2

Retailer Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN) is among the stocks with unusual options volume today. The stock is fighting back from an early drop following a bearish brokerage note from Goldman Sachs, last seen up 0.2% at $43.92. Meanwhile, JWN calls are flying across the tape at 12 times the expected rate for this point in the session, with more than 20,000 calls on the tape -- putting call volume in the 99th percentile of its annual intraday range. Accounting to nearly all of the action is what International Securities Exchange (ISE) data indicates is a massive roll-down, with the trader selling to close 10,000 contracts at the April 52.50 call, and buying to open the same amount of April 47.50 calls.

Among the top performers on the New York Stock Exchange at midday is drug stock Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK). The shares are up 3% to $63.96 following a well-received earnings report, helped by strong sales of its cancer drug, Keytruda. 

Shutterfly, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFLY), a digital retailer specializing in photo prints, is among the Nasdaq's worst performers, shedding 15.5% to $43.74 after its quarterly report. The company gave disappointing current-quarter guidance, and announced it would cut its workforce by 13%, leading numerous analyst to lower their opinions, and putting SFLY stock on track for its worst percentage-drop on record.

SFLY Daily Chart February 2

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.1 point, or 1.1%, at 11.94. 

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.07, with puts more than doubling calls. SPY was last seen up less 0.3 point, or 0.1%, at $227.91. 

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