Stocks Sprint Higher on Big-Cap Earnings, Jobs Data

The Dow is on track for its best day since Aug. 16

by Patrick Martin

Published on Oct 16, 2018 at 12:06 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is up more than 350 points, on track for its best day in two months, thanks to some strong earnings reports from blue-chips Goldman Sachs (GS) and UnitedHealth (UNH). The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are sporting impressive gains, too, powered by a bouncing tech sector. Investors are also cheering the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which showed job openings surged to a record 7.14 million in August. Elsewhere, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), has pulled back below the key 18.66 level.

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

  • Why Benchmark says this weed stock can soar 20%.
  • These 2 stocks are lower despite earnings beats.
  • Plus, options bulls target Deere; Anthem stock keeps climbing; and Freeport-McMoRan struggles.

Midday Market Stats Oct 16

Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) is seeing unusual options volume today, with 6,400 calls on the tape, double the average intraday pace. Most active by far is the weekly 11/2 165-strike call, where Trade-Alert suggests new positions are being purchased ahead of Caterpillar (CAT) earnings, due before the market opens on Tuesday, Oct. 23. At last check, DE is up 1.2% to trade at $150.23. 

Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) is up 3.3% to trade at $276.09, one of the stronger stocks on the S&P 500 today. The health insurance name has been carving out a channel of higher highs and lows since June, culminating in a record high of $280.43 on Oct. 9. While the shares pulled back shortly after hitting this milestone, the dip was contained by their 50-day moving average.

MMC Daily Chart ANTM

On the other end of the spectrum is Freeport-McMoRan Inc (NYSE:FCX), down 2% to trade at $12.57. The mining stock has given back nearly 34% this year, and one bearish trader recently initiated a risky options strategy.

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