Stocks Stay Hot to Start 2018

The SPX and Nasdaq are flirting with record highs

Josh Selway
Jan 2, 2018 at 12:08 PM
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U.S. stocks are broadly higher halfway through the first trading day of 2018. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has pared much of its triple-digit lead, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are holding their early gains as tech and energy stocks outperform. Adding to the risk-on bias is the Markit purchasing managers manufacturing index (PMI) for December, which revealed the strongest U.S. manufacturing growth in almost three years. Investors could also be reacting to a raft of analyst attention on high-profile stocks, as Wall Street adjusts to the new year.

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

  • The blockchain stock getting rocked today.
  • Analyst: Buy this Dow stock for 2018.
  • Plus, put players pile on one retail stock; a soaring gene editing stock; and a biotech getting bashed.

midday market stats january 2

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is retailer Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR), with puts trading at 29 times what's typically seen. The shares are down 4.8% today at $9.67, and one options trader is apparently expecting more weakness ahead, buying to open 5,850 January 2018 10-strike puts for 70 cents each. This would put the speculator's total cash outlay at $409,500, as he or she is hoping EXPR stock sinks even further below $10 in the coming weeks.

The top performer on the Nasdaq is Switzerland-based gene editing specialist Crispr Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CRSP). The stock was last seen trading up 14.5% at $26.89, earlier hitting a record high of $26.97, and while there's no specific news behind the move, the shares made a similar upward surge last Friday. Since its May low of $13.50, CRSP stock has nearly doubled.

crispr stock

One of the worst performers on the Nasdaq is biotech TESARO Inc (NASDAQ:TSRO), dropping 8.8% today to trade at $75.54. The shares are responding to bearish attention from Cowen and Piper Jaffray, which both lowered their price targets to $80. TSRO stock earlier touched an annual low of $74.57, and has now shed 60.9% since its highs from last February.


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