Stocks, Oil Rally as VIX Falls to 4-Month Low

The Cboe Volatility Index touched its lowest mark since early October on budget optimism

Managing Editor
Feb 12, 2019 at 12:03 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is up over 300 points at midday, enjoying a steady climb after a tentative bipartisan budget deal was reached to keep the government open beyond the Feb. 15 deadline. Meanwhile, the U.S. and China are progressing on trade talks as negotiations enter the second day in Beijing. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are comfortably higher, too, while Wall Street's "fear gauge" -- the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) -- earlier fell to its lowest intraday point since October. Elsewhere, oil prices are rallying after yesterday's drop, with March-dated crude futures up 1.9% at $53.41 per barrel, at last check. 

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

  • Short sellers burned as Chegg stock races to a record high.
  • Options bulls blitz Electronic Arts stock after new "Apex Legends" numbers.
  • Plus, calls pop on VKTX amid Gilead woes; Align adds to its C-suite; and LULU gets a halo lift. 

Midday Market Stats Feb 12

There's notable options activity surrounding biotech stock Viking Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:VKTX). More than 5,300 calls have changed hands, six times the average intraday volume and pacing in the 97th percentile of its annual range. Most of that action is centered at the out-of-the-money February 9 call, but the March 9 call is also popular today. VKTX is up 5.6% at $8.57, as rival drugmaker Gilead Sciences (GLD) sinks in the wake of failed liver disease drug data.

Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALGN) is up 5% to trade at $254.26 today, after the company named former Procter & Gamble (PG) executive Raj Pudipeddi its new senior vice president and chief marketing officer. The Invisalign parent bottomed below $178 to start 2019, but since then has roared back and could today topple its 100-day moving average for the first time since early October. 

MMC Daily Chart ALGN

Lululemon Athletica inc. (NASDAQ:LULU) is up 3.8% to trade at $155.40 and heading toward its fourth-straight daily win, enjoying a halo lift after fellow sector peer Under Armour (UAA) posted a fourth-quarter earnings beat. The athleisure retailer boasts a 27% gain so far in 2019, and has roughly doubled in value overp the last 12 months. 


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