Dow Jones Industrial Average Slips as Oil Prices Sink

Why Small-Cap Stocks Are Extremely Vulnerable Right Now

Mar 14, 2017 at 11:58 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is well below breakeven at midday, with stocks suffering broad losses ahead of today's Fed meeting kickoff. Sliding oil prices are adding to the bearish backdrop, with Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) among the worst Dow performers today. At last glance, April-dated crude futures were down another 2.3% at $47.28 per barrel -- touching fresh three-month lows, and on pace for a seventh straight drop. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are moving lower, too, putting the latter index on pace to close below a key trendline for the first time in nearly two months. 

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

  • Why small-cap stocks look extremely vulnerable right now, according to founder and CEO Bernie Schaeffer.
  • Analysts: This "underappreciated" healthcare stock could triple. 
  • Plus, Valeant put options pop; J C Penney's new low; and a big biotech loser. 

stock market news today

Among the names seeing accelerated options trading today is Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), after investor Bill Ackman threw in the towel on the drug stock. While call volume is also accelerated, puts are trading at four times the normal pace for this point in the day. The most popular option overall is the March 10 put, which is seeing a mix of activity. Further down the list, it seems option bears are buying to open VRX's March 10.50 put, expecting further losses by week's end, when the contracts expire. The stock was down 11% at $10.79 at last check, after touching an eight-year low of $10.50. 

J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP) is near the bottom of the New York Stock Exchange today, as the retail stock continues its downtrend. Specifically, JCP stock was last seen down 1.8% at $5.89, and earlier hit a three-year low of $5.85. The shares have now shed 45% since their December high, but any remaining bulls may be hoping for JCP to once again bounce from the $6 area. 

jcp stock

A big loser on the Nasdaq is Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AMPH), after the drug company's fourth-quarter earnings report. Down 13.3% today at $12.81, the shares are short-sale restricted, and on pace for their lowest close since May.

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