Johnson & Johnson Lifts Dow to Another Record High

Bank stocks are surging ahead of earnings season

by Josh Selway

Published on Jan 9, 2018 at 12:06 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI), S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are trading at record highs once again, putting the latter two indexes on pace for a sixth straight win. Bank shares continue to rally ahead of fourth-quarter earnings season, while a raft of positive analyst attention for high-profile stocks -- including today's top Dow gainer, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) -- and well-received corporate updates from names like Target (TGT) help boost investor sentiment. Potentially adding to the bullish bias is fresh three-year highs from oil prices, with February-dated crude futures up 1.5% at $62.64 per barrel.

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

  • A FAANG stock at risk for a pullback.
  • The tech stock crushing shorts on cryptocurrency chatter.
  • Plus, options traders react to JNJ's surge; a biotech that's nearly tripled; and Express unravels.

midday market stats january 9

Among the stocks with unusual options volume is healthcare stock JNJ, with the shares trading up 2.5% at $145.47, earlier touching a record high of $145.68. The move comes after a bullish note from an analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities, who expects the company's upcoming guidance to exceed expectations. Meanwhile, call volume has already doubled the daily average, and the most popular contract is the weekly 1/12 146-strike call. Buy-to-open action looks likely, meaning speculators expect JNJ stock to rally further into record-high territory by week's end.

Pain Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTIE) is the best-performing stock on the Nasdaq today, last seen up 185.4% at $12.70 after being halted several times for volatility, and earlier hitting an annual high of $12.80. The company's opioid painkiller, Remoxy, met its main goal in a study, and the reaction is a crushing blow for PTIE short sellers, who control almost 17% of the float.

Over on the New York Stock Exchange, retailer Express, Inc. (NYSE:EXPR) is unraveling, down 14.8% at $7.86, earning a sport of the short-sale restricted list, after disappointing holiday sales prompted the retailer to slash its current-quarter and full-year forecast. This sell-off coincides with weakness in retail peer Urban Outfitters (URBN), who also issued a lackluster sales update.

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