Dow, SPX Touch Fresh Record Highs; Fed, Tax Reform in Focus

The House and Senate reportedly reached a tentative deal on tax reform

by Emma Duncan

Published on Dec 13, 2017 at 12:12 PM

U.S. stocks are higher at midday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) soaring to fresh record highs. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) isn't far behind, with tech stocks in rally mode. Traders are cheering reports that the House and Senate reached a tentative deal on tax reform, and continue to digest Alabama Democrat Doug Jones' Senate seat win. Wall Street is also anticipating a rate hike from the Fed today, as well as outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen's subsequent press conference.

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

  • Analyst: This Amazon competitor is the "best idea for 2018."
  • The best stocks to buy before a Fed rate hike.
  • Plus, the financial stock seeing heavy call volume; a telecom topping NYSE stocks; and ArcBest stock's bear gap.

Midday Market Stats Dec 13

Among the stocks with unusual call options volume is financial stock HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HSBC), with roughly 6,500 call options traded -- 12 times the average intraday norm, and pacing for the 98th percentile of its annual range. The March 55 call is the most active, with more than 2,500 total contracts exchanged, with Trade-Alert suggesting buy-to-open activity ahead of the Fed decision. At last check, HSBC was up 2% at $51.53, and earlier notched a three-year high of $51.71.

One of the top stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL), with telecom stocks in focus ahead of a net neutrality vote. CTL stock is also higher even after Morgan Stanley cut its price target to $21.60 from $26. CTL has moved 24% higher since its Nov. 28 20-year lows, and at last check was up 3.7% at $16.31.

One of the worst performers on Nasdaq is freight concern ArcBest Corp (NASDAQ:ARCB), after receiving a downgrade to "sell" from "hold" at Stifel. At last check, ARCB stock was down 11% at $34.35, clinging to support atop its 50-day moving average, which has contained pullbacks since mid-July.

Daily Chart of ARCB Since Jan 2017 with 80MA

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