Stocks Drop as Volatility Reigns; IBM Sinks Dow

Oil prices are plummeting after an increase in crude inventories

Managing Editor
Oct 17, 2018 at 11:53 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is down at midday, pressured by lackluster IBM Corp (IBM) earnings. Investors are also warily eyeing housing starts for September, which fell by a larger-than-expected margin and put added pressure on newly downgraded blue-chip Home Depot (HD). The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are firmly in the red too, despite an impressive earnings reaction from FAANG stock Netflix (NFLX). Elsewhere, oil prices are plummeting after a bigger-than-expected build in domestic inventories, with December-dated crude last seen 3% lower to trade at $69.71 per barrel. Looking ahead, traders will digest the latest Fed meeting minutes, which could provide clues to the pace of future rate hikes.

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

  • This healthcare stock is suffering a post-earnings plunge.
  • The courtroom win boosting this Netflix rival.
  • Plus, options bulls target PayPal ahead of earnings; General Electric stock climbs after a contract win; and Campbell Soup stock sinks as a shareholder battle rages.

Midday Market Stats Oct 17

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) is seeing unusual options volume today, with 24,000 calls on the tape, double the average intraday pace. Most active by far is the November 85 call, where Trade-Alert suggests new positions are being purchased. The payments processing name, wildly popular in analyst circles, reports third-quarter earnings after the close tomorrow. PYPL was last seen down 0.6% at $80.07, but is still up nearly 2% this week.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) stock is up 3.5% to trade at $12.51, one of the best stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today. The former Dow name is higher amid reports it scored an Iraqi power-generation contract worth $15 billion. Although GE has shed 28% in 2018, it is up roughly 10% this quarter, and flashed a rare bullish signal earlier this month.

On the other end of the spectrum is Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB), down 3.9% to trade at $36.83, one of the worst stocks on the S&P 500. Pressuring the stock lower today is news that the founder's heirs, which control a 41% stake in Campbell's, support the current board. Activist Daniel Loeb of Third Point Capital is fighting to get controlling shareholders to put the company up for sale. CPB shares have shed 23% in 2018, pressured lower by their 30-day moving average. 

MMC Daily Chart CPB

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