Stocks Bounce Amid Debt Ceiling Buzz, Energy Rally

Crude oil rose to its highest point in nearly four weeks with Hurricane Irma threatening the Caribbean

by Patrick Martin

Published on Sep 6, 2017 at 12:11 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is higher at midday, after top Democrat leaders said they'd vote for a three-month increase to the debt ceiling, alleviating fears of a government shutdown. However, House Speaker Paul Ryan said their proposal was "unworkable," keeping stocks' upside momentum in check. Gains are also being capped as cautious investors eye Hurricane Irma, and the continued threat of escalated conflict with North Korea.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is also higher as energy and financial stocks surge, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is barely in the red. Hurricane Irma has nudged crude oil prices to a nearly four-week high, with October-dated crude futures trading up 1.1% at $49.18 per barrel. Elsewhere, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said he will resign effective Oct. 13, citing personal reasons. There are now two spots on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) that need to be filled by President Trump. 

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

  • The best time to sell stocks in September, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White.
  • What analysts think of a $1,000 iPhone.
  • Plus, calls sprouting up around POT stock; Gap stock surges; and UAL stock joins the sector slump.

Midday Market Stats Sept 6


Among the stocks with unusual options volume is fertilizer producer Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (USA) (NYSE:POT), with over 3,500 calls traded -- three times the average intraday pace, and on track for the 88th percentile of its annual range. The October 17 call has attracted notable attention, with over 3,000 contracts traded, and it looks like speculators are buying the calls to open. POT stock is currently up 2% to trade at $17.65, and once again has reclaimed its 200-day moving average.


Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) stock is up 5.2% at $25.30, near the top of the S&P 500 Index today, after the retailer announced it expects around $500 million in expense savings over the next three years, while also adding about 70 new stores and closing 200 underperforming stores. GPS stock has tacked on 11% year-to-date, and is pacing for its highest close since May, but faces a historically tough month ahead.

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) is among the worst stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today, down 2.3% to trade at $59.68, after the airline stock cut its current-quarter passenger unit revenue forecast. In addition, the threat of Hurricane Irma has resulted in a sector-wide swoon for airline stocks. UAL stock has shed roughly 20% year-to-date, and the drop today takes the shares below the $60 level for the first time since November.

Midday Market Chart UAL Sept 6 noTL


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