Stocks Lower As Rate Fears, China Concerns Linger

The Dow's losses are accelerating at midday

Managing Editor
Oct 18, 2018 at 12:04 PM
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Losses for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are accelerating at midday, as investors continue to fret about the hawkish Fed meeting minutes and digest a big overnight sell-off in Chinese stocks. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also lower, as corporate earnings begin to take center stage. Elsewhere, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), is higher at last check, and on track to snap a four-day losing streak.

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

  • This penny stock is up over 250% today.
  • Bear notes and dismal data hit homebuilding stocks.
  • Plus, options bears blast Target; Alcoa stock climbs after earnings; and a downgrade cripples Gap stock.

Midday Market Stats Oct 18

Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) is seeing unusual options volume today, with more than 5,000 puts on the tape, double the average intraday pace. Most active is the weekly 10/26 85-strike put, where Trade-Alert suggests new positions are being purchased. TGT was last seen down 0.2% at $84.23, but boasts a 29% gain in 2018 and nabbed a record high of $90.39 back on Sept. 10.

After surging earlier this month in step with aluminum prices, Alcoa Corp (NYSE:AA) stock is up 7.8% to trade at $39.59, one of the best stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today. Last night, the aluminum company reported third-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations, while announcing a $200 million share buyback plan. AA fell to an annual low of $35.13 on Oct. 11, but today is on track for its best day since April 25, 2017.

Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), meanwhile, is down 4.7% to trade at $25.87, and earlier hit a new annual low of $25.34. Pressuring the stock lower today is a downgrade from J. P. Morgan Securities to "underweight" from "neutral," as well as a price-target cut to $24 from $30. The analyst in coverage expressed concern over margins and continuing sales weakness. Shares of GPS have now shed almost 25% in 2018, and have been guided lower by their 30-day moving average since late August.

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