Stocks Fall, Gold Gains as Political Uncertainty Ramps Up

Two political figures tied to Trump's presidential campaign were indicted on conspiracy charges

by Katie Coburn

Published on Oct 30, 2017 at 4:26 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Despite a fresh all-time high for the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) in early trading, it was ultimately a rocky start to the week for U.S. stocks. Traders responded to the latest developments out of Washington, D.C. -- including reports that the House is considering a plan to gradually reduce the corporate tax rate, and federal conspiracy charges for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates. Meanwhile, Dow drug giant Merck (MRK) suffered its biggest two-day sell-off since February 2009, and dragged its peers in the pharmaceutical sector along for the ride.

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

  • 2 blue-chip stocks screaming "buy" right now.
  • How options traders are playing Under Armour stock ahead of tomorrow's earnings.
  • The retail break-up that put Iconix stock on the short-sale restricted list.
  • Plus, options traders target Apple suppliers and social media stocks, while China's e-commerce behemoth scores a new "buy" rating.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 23,348.74) ended with a loss of 85.5 points, or 0.4%. Apple (AAPL) led the nine Dow gainers with a 2.3% advance, while MRK paced the 21 losers with a 6.1% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,572.83) ended down 8.3 points, or 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 6,698.96) touched a record high of 6,727.39, before ending with a loss of 2.3 points, or 0.03%.
 
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 10.50) gained 0.7 point, or 7.1%.

Closing Indexes Summary Oct 30
NYSE and Nasdaq Stats Oct 30

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Sprint parent company Softbank is reportedly planning to terminate its merger with T-Mobile due to a failure to agree on ownership of the company. Shares of the big-name telecoms surged in mid-September, when the merger talk first surfaced. (CNBC)
  2. A Washington-based U.S. judge temporarily blocked President Trump's plan to implement a transgender ban in the military, citing a lack of evidence that proves such a ban would be effective. (Bloomberg)
  3. 3 Apple suppliers that saw unusual options activity today.
  4. Behind Alibaba Group stock's newest "buy" rating.
  5. How options traders are playing Facebook and Twitter stocks before Wednesday's congressional hearing.


Corporate Earnings Oct 30

Unusual Options Activity Oct 30
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

Crude prices settled higher today, on expectations that production cuts led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would be extended beyond March. December-dated oil futures ended up 25 cents, or 0.5%, at $54.15 per barrel.

Gold also ended higher today, reversing earlier losses, as political uncertainty ramped up in the wake of today's indictments. December-dated gold ended up $5.90, or 0.5%, at $1,277.70 an ounce.


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