Dow Jones Industrial Average Waffles as Oil Prices Fall

The VIX Options Indicator at a 10-Year High

by Josh Selway

Published on Jul 5, 2017 at 11:54 AM
Updated on Jul 5, 2017 at 12:01 PM

U.S. stocks are trading near breakeven today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) slightly lower at last check. Investors are awaiting this afternoon's release of the Fed's meeting minutes, while also monitoring a renewed sell-off in oil prices. Specifically, August-dated crude futures have fallen 3.6% to $45.40 per barrel, set to snap an eight-day winning streak, after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reported rising exports for a second straight month in June. As such, energy stocks are holding back the S&P 500 Index (SPX), but broad gains from tech names and drug stocks are helping the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) outperform. 
Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

  • The VIX options indicator at a 10-year high. 
  • Why analysts believe Apple stock could be at an "attractive entry point." 
  • Plus, options bears pound Macy's; NVIDIA bounces; and Chesapeake takes a fall. 

midday market stats july 5

Among the stocks with unusual options volume today is Macy's Inc (NYSE:M). Specifically, both calls and puts are trading well above the pace expected for this point in the day, and it looks like options traders are betting on more downside from Macy's stock. The most popular contract so far is the August 24 put, which is seeing likely buy-to-open activity. On the call side, the weekly 7/7 25-strike call is in the lead, where sell-to-open activity is likely taking place. The put buyers expect M shares to fall below $24 by the close on Aug. 18, when the options expire, while the call sellers are betting on the retail stock holding below $25 through the end of this week. Macy's was last seen up 0.3% at $23.92.

One name outperforming on the Nasdaq is semiconductor stock NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA). The shares are up 2.6% at $143.02, following news of an AI technology partnership with Chinese internet firm Baidu. NVDA stock has pulled back since hitting an all-time high of $168.50 on June 9, but still sports a year-to-date gain of 34% and could soon find support from its 50-day moving average. 

nvda stock

Over on the New York Stock Exchange, natural gas issue Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) is falling amid energy's woes. At last check, CHK stock was down 6.3% at $4.80, as it remains in its channel of lower highs since its early December peak. 
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