Apple Keeps Dow In Check Ahead of Fed Decision

Crude oil prices are above $50 per barrel, despite an uptick in inventories

Managing Editor
Sep 20, 2017 at 12:06 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has spent time on both sides of the aisle, but is modestly higher at midday, attempting to extend its winning streak to nine straight sessions. While the Dow touched a record intraday high earlier, and is looking for its sixth straight record close, Apple stock is helping to keep the index's gains in check, amid reports of connectivity issues for the new Apple Watch. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is flat, but managed to eke out a new intraday record, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) is lower with AAPL.

Elsewhere, Wall Street is awaiting the Fed's monetary policy statement at 2:00 p.m. ET, and Fed Chair Janet Yellen's subsequent press conference. The central bank isn't expected to lift interest rates until December, but could detail plans to unwind its massive balance sheet. Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported U.S. crude supplies rose by more than expected last week; nevertheless, October-dated crude futures have risen 1.9% to trade at $50.41 per barrel.

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

  • Buy calls on these 2 blue-chip stocks.
  • The latest hi-tech Amazon project.
  • Plus, put buying on First Solar; Chesapeake stock tries to break out; and Western Digital fails to close a big deal.

Midday Market Stats Sept 20

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is alternative energy concern First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), with 10,000 puts traded -- four times the average intraday volume, and pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range. The October 40 and 43.50 puts are attracting notable attention, with over 4,600 contracts exchanged between the two. FSLR stock is down 3.7% to trade at $47.66, pulling back from Friday's upgrade-fueled annual high.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) is up 3% at $4.16, among the best stocks on the S&P 500 today, as energy stocks rally. Despite today's rally, CHK stock has shed 41% year-to-date, with rebound attempts stalling at its 80-day moving average.

CHK stock chart

Tech stock Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ:WDC) is among the losers on the Nasdaq today, down 4.8% at $85.55, after Toshiba officially agreed to sell its chip unit to Bain Capital. Western Digital had been in the running for the purchase, though the company's odds have been dwindling for a while, with Toshiba last week all but confirming its choice of Bain Group. WDC stock has added 24% year-to-date, but has pulled back since its July 21 two-year high of $95.77. 

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