Stock Indexes Wobble as VIX, Oil Rise

The VIX is holding above breakeven today

by Josh Selway

Published on Apr 18, 2018 at 12:05 PM

Though oil prices are charting a definitive path higher -- May-dated crude futures were last seen up 2.1% at $67.90 per barrel on an unexpected weekly decline in domestic inventories, and hit a three-year peak earlier -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is failing to make a big move in either direction today, as IBM stock continues to fall after earnings. While the latest batch of corporate earnings has mostly been well-received by Wall Street, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq (IXIC) are also failing to gain momentum -- as stocks seemingly fail to live up to broad earnings season optimism. Against this dreary backdrop, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) was last seen in positive territory, set to break its recent losing streak.

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

  • 2 drug stocks breaking out on FDA buzz.
  • How investors are reacting to Best Buy's big Amazon partnership.
  • Plus, Ulta Beauty sees big spread activity; First Solar stays hot; and the name behind the semiconductor slide.

midday market stats april 18

One name seeing unusual options activity is Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA), thanks to a huge debit spread involving the June 250 and 275 calls. ULTA shares were last seen trading up 1.7% at $237.51, on pace for a third straight close above the 200-day moving average. In fact, the security has only suffered two down days in April.

One of the best stocks on the Nasdaq today is First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR). The alternative energy issue was last seen up 5.8% at $76.91, and earlier hit a six-year peak of $78.46. An upgrade to "buy" at BofA-Merrill Lynch has sparked the price action, with the brokerage firm setting an $83 price target -- another 7.9% from FSLR stock's current perch.

flsr stock april 18

A number of semiconductor stocks are sitting near the bottom of the Nasdaq, following a disappointing earnings report from Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX). At last check, LRCX was trading down 4.5% at $202.80. The shares suffered a sharp pullback earlier this month, too, but that was contained by double-barreled support from the 160-day moving average and $190 level.

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