Tax Hopes Lift Stocks to Record Highs

Bank and tech stocks are leading the charge today

by Emma Duncan

Published on Oct 20, 2017 at 11:59 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are trading higher this afternoon, all touching fresh record highs after the Senate passed a budget plan, fueling hopes for tax cuts. Bank stocks are in rally mode, and tech is on the mend, helping to overshadow disappointing earnings from blue chips General Electric (GE) and Procter & Gamble. Elsewhere, traders are digesting a surprise rebound in existing home sales in September, and are awaiting a speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, amid reports that President Trump is favoring Fed Governor Jerome Powell to head the central bank.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • The stock rattled by an SEC probe
  • The pharma stock in a tailspin.
  • Plus, Paypal's unusual options volume; Skechers touches a record high; and Del Taco takes a dive.

Midday Market Stats October 20

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is online pay system Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL), with more than 85,000 options traded -- five times the average intraday norm, and pacing for the highest percentile of its annual range. The October 70 and 75 calls are most popular, with Trade-Alert attributing the volume to buy-to-open activity. At last check, PYPL was up 5% at $70.61 -- and earlier just touched a fresh record high of $71.73 -- as traders celebrate the company's earnings report.

The biggest gainer on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is footwear manufacturer Skechers USA Inc (NYSE:SKX). The shares of SKX are soaring after the company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and received multiple price-target raises. Shares of SKX were last seen up  37% at $32.94, and earlier touched a fresh annual high of $33.27.

One of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq today is restaurant chain Del Taco Restaurants (NASDAQ:TACO), with the shares gapping 19% lower to trade at $12.48, after the company cut its full-year forecast. TACO stock has now erased its year-to-date gains, and has dropped 22% since its late September high of $15.99.

Daily Chart of TACO Since Jan 2017

 
 

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