Dow Stays Hot, Eyes Fifth Straight Record Close

The VIX -- Wall Street's 'fear gauge' -- fell below 10 for the first time in six weeks

Managing Editor
Sep 18, 2017 at 11:57 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is higher at midday, set to extend its winning streak to seven sessions, and already setting another intraday record. The Dow is on track for its fifth straight record close, fueled by a strong performance from Caterpillar. Bank stocks are also moving higher, as the market prepares for the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) two-day meeting, which kicks off tomorrow. The central bank isn't expected to lift interest rates until December, but could detail plans to unwind its massive balance sheet.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) have also joined in on the fun to new intraday peaks, with the former extending its trek north of 2,500. Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) -- Wall Street's "fear gauge" -- briefly fell below 10 for the first time since Aug. 8. 

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

  • Analyst: This FAANG stock looks relatively cheap right now.
  • Option bulls are swarming this red-hot chip stock.
  • Plus, call buying heats up on Verizon; the sector surge lifting AMD; and United Continental stock continues to lag.

Midday Market Stats Sept 18

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is Dow stock Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), with nearly 17,000 calls traded -- double the average intraday volume, and pacing for the 93rd percentile of its annual range. The October 49 and 49.50 call, as well as the October 46 call, are attracting notable attention, with nearly 8,000 contracts exchanged between the three. VZ stock is down 0.2% to trade at $47.83, and has shed nearly 10% year-to-date, with recent upside limited by its 50-week moving average.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD) is up 5.4% at $13.23, among the best stocks on the S&P 500 today, as the equity once again enjoys a halo lift from NVIDIA stock. AMD has added over 114% in the past 52 weeks, and the shares' 200-day moving average has contained recent pullbacks.

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) is among the losers on S&P 500 today, down 2% at $58.57. Airline stocks were already hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and now Hurricane Maria is bearing down on the battered Caribbean. UAL stock has shed 25% in three months, guided lower by the shares' decreasing 20-day moving average. 

Midday Market Chart UAL Sept 18


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