Dow Dodges Tech Headwinds

The Dow is eyeing its highest close in months

Josh Selway
Aug 20, 2018 at 11:57 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is trading higher this afternoon, set for its highest close since Feb. 1. On top of the recent trade tailwinds, stocks are rising on today's round of M&A activity and gains from the energy, healthcare, and retail sectors. On the other hand, tech is struggling, a primary reason the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is trading lower at midday. 

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

  • The pharma stock that's lost half its value today.
  • Beer stock Constellation Brands was hit by a bear note.
  • Plus, Pfizer hits a new high; one insurance stock surging; and the China stock at all-time lows.

midday market stats august 20

One stock seeing unusual options activity today is Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), as the drugmaker's shares rally to multi-year highs. Call volume is roughly triple put volume, thanks to heavy trading at the December 41 and 43 calls. Traders here are either initiating spread trades, or rolling up their 41 calls to the 43 strike to bet on more upside for PFE. The blue chip has gained 1% today to trade at $42.51, putting it on pace for its highest close since 2002. Sector-wide tailwinds are helping many large-cap healthcare stocks today, even though the Trump administration just said that Health and Human Services has the power to eliminate drug rebates.

pfe stock august 2018

One of the best stocks on the Nasdaq today is life insurance expert GWG Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:GWGH). The equity is trading up 9.3% at $11.91, earlier hitting a three-year high of $13.10, as it builds off last week's 33.2% gain that was sparked by strong quarterly revenue. GWGH is now on pace for its third straight close above the 20-week moving average, which had acted as a ceiling for the shares for months.

Meanwhile, agricultural biotech Origin Agritech Ltd (NASDAQ:SEED) is hitting new lows, last seen down 7.7% at $5.70, earlier hitting their lowest point ever at $5.49. Shares of the Beijing-based company have been getting clobbered since last month's reverse stock split, and overall have shed roughly 60% in the past year.


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