Stocks Higher Amid Tax-Cut Optimism

Several companies pledged to boost wages after the tax bill

Managing Editor
Dec 21, 2017 at 12:08 PM
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U.S. stocks are trading higher this afternoon, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) picking up more than 100 points -- and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) trailing closely behind. The Dow is now on track for its 71st all-time closing high this year, which would put 2017 in the record books. Today's gains can be attributed to the passage of the Republican tax bill, which has several big-cap companies vowing to boost wages. Traders are also digesting a slew of economic data, and await earnings from Nike (NKE) after the bell.

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

  • 25 stocks to buy before Christmas.
  • Skeptical analysts are coming around on this Apple rival.
  • Plus, Finish Line's unusual options volume; a big shipping merger; and BBBY plummets on margin concerns. 

Midday Market Stats Dec 21

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is sportswear concern Finish Line, Inc. (NYSE:FINL), with roughly 5,700 calls traded -- four times the average intraday norm, and pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range. The January 2018 13- and 14-strike calls are among the most active for FINL, as the stock rallies after earnings. At last check, Finish Line stock was up 12.1% to trade at $13.11, set to conquer its 200-day moving average for the first time in over a year.

The top performer on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Gener8 Maritime Inc (NYSE:GNRT), after the oil transport company announced a merger agreement with Belgian tanker Euronav. Specifically, Euronav will buy Gener8 for about $490 million in stock, sending GNRT shares gapping 34% higher to trade at $5.86, in territory not seen since late July.

Daily Chart of GNRT Since Jan 2017 with 200MA

One of the worst performers on Nasdaq is retail concern Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY). BBBY stock has dipped 12.5% to trade at $21.48, as concerns about the company's margins spark negative analyst attention. Bed Bath & Beyond stock has lost nearly 53% over the past year.

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