Dow Eyes Fifth Straight Win Despite Tech Pullback

Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated expectations for gradual rate hikes

by Patrick Martin

Published on Jul 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Stocks are mixed today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) sporting gains -- and the former on track for its fifth straight win -- while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is lower due to a pullback in the tech sector. FAANG stocks in particular are struggling, as Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google faces a hefty $5 billion fine from the European Union (EU), Netflix (NFLX) extends its post-earnings drop, and (AMZN) takes a breather after Prime Day. In other news, traders are eyeing the biggest one-month drop in U.S. housing starts since November 2016. Meanwhile, Fed Chair Jerome Powell spent another day on Capitol Hill, reiterating his expectations for gradual rate hikes before the House Financial Services Committee.

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

  • This sentiment signal also flashed in March 2009.
  • 2 coffee stocks hit with analyst attention this morning.
  • Plus, options bulls race to Travelers stock before earnings tomorrow; Delta stock gets a halo lift; and Marathon Oil stock continues to sink.

Midday Market Stats July 18

One name seeing notable options trading today is Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV), where more than 3,300 calls have traded -- 12 times what's typically seen at this point, and volume pacing for the 100th percentile of its annual range. Leading the charge today is the August 135 call, with over 2,400 contracts exchanged, and new positions being opened.  It seems options traders are hoping for a post-earnings move higher ahead of the company's quarterly release before the open tomorrow. Year-to-date, TRV has shed 4%. 

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) is one of the best stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) so far today, up 4.2% to trade at $53.27, getting a halo lift after an upbeat earnings report from sector peer United Continental (UAL). Delta stock is on track for its best day since Jan. 11, and is set to finish above its formerly supportive 320-day moving average for the first time in nearly a month. 

dal stock chart july 18

On the other end of the spectrum is Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), one of the worst S&P 500 stocks today and down 2.3% to trade at $19.60. The drop today has MRO shares on track to close below their 80-day moving average for the first time since early April. Nevertheless, Marathon stock scored a three-year high of $22.74 just last Tuesday.

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