3M, Caterpillar Earnings Lift Dow to Record Highs

Healthcare stocks are keeping the S&P and Nasdaq gains in check

Managing Editor
Oct 24, 2017 at 12:02 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) touched another fresh record high today, and was last seen flirting with a gain of nearly 200 points, thanks to another load of respectable earnings reports. Most notably, 3M (MMM) and Caterpillar (CAT) stocks are leading the charge, with McDonald's (MCD) also in the black after earnings. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are both trading higher as well, but have yet to touch new all-time peaks, as healthcare stocks keep the indexes' gains in check.

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

  • The S&P's rare technical signal seen only 13 other times.
  • The well-timed options trade on Under Armour stock.
  • Plus, Biogen's unusual volume; Knoll soars off third-quarter beat; and Veeco takes a hit after a downgrade.

Midday Market Stats October 24

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is pharmaceutical concern Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), with more than 25,000 options traded -- 10 times the average intraday norm, and on pace for the highest percentile of its annual range. The weekly 10/27 315-strike call and 307.50-strike put are most popular, with over 1,000 total contracts apiece. At last check, BIIB was down 7% at $303.96, after the company reported disappointing Spinraza sales -- much to the dismay of recent Biogen options traders.

Among the biggest gainers on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is residential and office furniture company Knoll Inc (NYSE:KNL). The shares of KNL are soaring after the company reported a third-quarter earnings beat, with the stock aiming for its best session in nearly seven years. Shares of KNL were last seen up 12% at $23.37 -- a 41% jump from its late July annual low.

One of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq today is film process equipment maker Veeco Instruments Inc (NASDAQ:VECO), with the shares gapping 11% lower to trade at $19.40, after KeyBanc downgraded the stock to "sector weight" from "overweight." VECO stock was last seen down more than 34% year-to-date.

Daily Chart of VECO Since Jan 2017

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