Chip Sector Slide Jolts Stock Market

The VIX is rising again amid the slide in stocks

by Josh Selway

Published on Apr 19, 2018 at 12:01 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Stocks are stuck in reverse following the latest round of corporate earnings. While an earnings-induced bull gap from blue chip American Express (AXP) briefly had the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) in positive territory, the index was last seen below breakeven, weighed down by pullbacks from Apple (AAPL) and Procter & Gamble (PG). The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are trading lower, as well, mostly due to major weakness from semiconductor stocks. Meanwhile, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) is edging higher again after snapping a six-day slump yesterday.

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

  • 2 reasons Mizuho is bearish on Apple stock.
  • Analysts think this e-commerce stock can rally another 40%.
  • Plus, Valeant sees big call volume; financial stock rewards option bulls; and Philip Morris implodes after earnings.

midday market stats april 19

One name seeing unusual options activity is Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), as the drugmaker trades down 1.7% at $17.10. Call volume has already more than doubled the daily average, but that's not a result of bullish expectations. It looks like one trader is rolling out a bearish position by buying to close the April 17 call and selling to open the May 18 call. If this is indeed what has transpired, the options trade would allow the speculator to keep the premium collected, as long as VRX holds below the crucial $18 level through the close on Friday, May 18, when the back-month series expires.

vrx stock today

Looking at some of the best stocks on the New York Stock Exchange today, KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) stands out as a notable winner, with the financial stock up 3.7% at $19.57 after earnings. This price action could be good news for recent options traders, but KEY shares are still looking up at the $20 level -- home to their year-to-date breakeven mark and 120-day moving average, which capped an upside move last week.

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) is by far the worst stock on the S&P 500 Index today. The shares earlier hit a two-year low of $83.50, and were last seen down 17.2% at $84.03, after the company's first-quarter revenue miss. PM stock has shed almost one-quarter of its value over the past year, yet analysts remain very bullish, evidenced by the equity's average 12-month price target of $119.56.


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