Stocks Sink; OPEC News Boosts Oil

The three major indexes are heading toward weekly losses

by Patrick Martin

Published on Dec 7, 2018 at 12:01 PM

U.S. stocks are selling off again, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) down more than 200 points at midday. A tepid November jobs report did little to jump-start markets this morning, with the blue-chip index pivoting sharply lower. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are firmly in the red as well, under pressure from another tech sector pullback. All three indexes are heading toward stiff weekly losses.

Elsewhere, oil prices are getting a big lift from news the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia agreed to cut crude production by 1.2 million barrels. At last check, January-dated crude futures are up 4.5% at $53.82 per barrel. 

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

  • A big upgrade is powering Tesla stock today.
  • Analyst: This pharma stock could triple.
  • Plus, options bears piling on beleaguered AEO stock; ULTA sinks on holiday outlook; and Marathon gets an OPEC boost.

Midday Market Stats Dec 7

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) is seeing unusual options activity today ahead of the retailer's third-quarter earnings report, due after the close next Tuesday, Dec. 11. Roughly 8,400 puts are on the tape -- nine times what's typically seen and volume pacing in the 100th percentile of its annual range. Almost all of the action has centered at the December 21 put, where it looks like new positions are being purchased. At last check, AEO is down 3.6% to trade at $19.06.  

Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) is at the bottom of the S&P 500 today, down 8.1% to trade at $269.30, as the beauty retailer's soft holiday forecast and a pair of price-target cuts offset a third-quarter profit beat on in-line revenue and comparable sales. Today's pullback has ULTA shares on track to close below their 40-day moving average for the first time since early November. 

Among the oil stocks enjoying tailwinds today is Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO), which is up 4.1% to trade at $16.78 and near the top of the S&P 500. While the OPEC news has MRO trading back above its year-to-date breakeven level, oil's recent struggles caused the shares to shave off 30% of their Oct. 3 high at $24.20, and remain stymied by their 30-day moving average.

MMC Daily Chart MRO

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