Dow, S&P Win Streaks Snapped; Gold Slides

Fears of rising interest rates again spooked investors

by Josh Selway

Published on Feb 20, 2018 at 4:26 PM

The Dow was pressured lower today mainly due to poorly received earnings from blue chip Walmart (WMT), resulting in the index's first loss in seven sessions. It was a similar setup for the S&P 500, while the Nasdaq failed to benefit from a strong rally in tech stocks -- with chipmakers fueling the sector-wide charge after Qualcomm (QCOM) upped its bid for NXP Semiconductors (NXPI). Rising Treasury yields and a strengthening dollar again added to the bearish backdrop, culminating in the worst session for gold prices in over a year.

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

  • Why the stock rally could pause this week, according to Schaeffer's Senior V.P. of Research Todd Salamone.
  • 2 movie stocks that soared today.
  • The Gilead Sciences stock recovery could just be getting started.
  • Plus, options hot ahead of Pandora earnings; one stock with huge earnings expectations; and a peanut allergy breakthrough.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 24,964.75) was down 254.63 points, or 1%, at the close, mostly due to Walmart's 10.2% slide. In fact, just five of 30 Dow components closed higher, with Intel (INTC) coming in as the biggest winner, adding 1.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,716.26) lost 16 points, or 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC -7,234.31) dropped 5.2 points, or 0.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 20.60) rose 1.1 points, or 5.9%.

Closing Indexes Summary Feb 20

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats Feb 20

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. The Trump administration today introduced a proposal that would allow people to buy health insurance plans that don't meet Obamacare requirements and keep them for up to a year. Similar plans are already available, but they can only be used for three months or less. (Reuters)
  2. Alphabet's Google has announced it's combining payment systems Google Wallet and Android Pay into one service known as Google Pay. The move is seen as a challenge to Apple's Apple Pay service. (USA Today)
  3. Speculators are blasting Pandora stock before earnings.
  4. Options traders expect a third straight huge earnings move from this stock.
  5. The drug stock that exploded on upbeat peanut allergy treatment news.

Corporate Earnings Feb 20

Unusual Options Activity Feb 20

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Dollar Strength Crushes Gold Prices

Oil prices ticked higher today as fears of oversupply receded some. April-dated crude futures rose 24 cents, or 0.4%, to finish at $61.78 per barrel.

A stronger dollar sent gold prices spiraling today. Specifically, gold set for April delivery fell $25.10, or 1.9%, to $1,331.20 per ounce -- its worst single-day performance since December 2016. 


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