Dow Treads Water as Retail Stocks Struggle

Strong economic data is boosting expectations for a December rate hike

Managing Editor
Aug 15, 2017 at 11:55 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has traded on both sides of breakeven today, but was last seen slightly higher, attempting to re-conquer the 22,000 level. Markets are processing the scaled-back drama with North Korea, as well as the latest batch of retail earnings, with Home Depot stock the biggest Dow loser after its report. Traders are also digesting encouraging economic data, including a spike in July retail sales, which is fueling expectations for a December rate hike -- and lifting bank stocks as a result. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) are currently mixed, while the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) -- or the stock market's "fear gauge" -- continues to pull back.

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

  • Hedge funds are dumping this Dow stock.
  • Analyst: SNAP stock is now "attractive."
  • Plus, pre-earnings bears flocking to URBN; AK Steel stock's bounce; and Advance Auto Parts' nosedive.

Midday Market Stats Aug 15

Among the stocks with unusual volume is retailer Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN), with roughly 32,000 puts traded. That is 12 times the average intraday pace, and on track for the highest percentile of its annual range. The August 15 put is the most active, accounting for over 29,000 contracts. URBN stock is currently down 4.8% to trade at $16.87, ahead of its earnings release tonight

AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) is trading near the top of the NYSE today, up 3.3% at $5.28, despite hedge fund Appaloosa dissolving its stake in the steel stock in the second quarter. AKS stock has still shed 48% year-to-date, and touched a year-to-date low of $5.01 just last week.

Midday Market Chart AKS Aug 15

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE:AAP) is trading lower today, among the worst stocks on the NYSE and short-sale restricted, down 21% to trade at $86.54. AAP stock earlier touched a three-and-a-half year low of $83.48, as traders react to the company's weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings. The car parts company also cut its full-year forecast for comparable store sales, reinforcing an industry-wide slump. AAP stock has shed nearly 50% year-to-date.

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