Stocks Mixed as Nasdaq Eyes Best Winning Streak Since August

U.S.-China trade talks are entering their second week

by Patrick Martin

Published on Feb 19, 2019 at 11:46 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is taking a breather today, last seen marginally lower as U.S.-China trade talks enter a second week ahead of the looming March 1 tariff deadline. Fresh off its eighth straight weekly win, the blue-chip index is shrugging off a strong day from Walmart (WMT) and its latest blowout earnings report. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) is flat at midday, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) is cautiously higher as it aims for seventh straight win, its longest winning streak since August.

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

  • The $200 level has become a focal point for McDonald's stock.
  • Liver drug buzz has this pharma stock soaring.
  • Plus, options traders target renewed AK Steel stock rally; Citi upgrades PCG on legislation hopes; and EA pulls back. 

Midday Market Stats Feb 19

Options volume is accelerated on AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS), with a bullish tilt. Over 10,000 call options have changed hands, three times the average intraday amount and a whopping 31 times the number of puts traded. Most of the action is centered at the March 3.50 and 3 calls, where it appears new positions are being opened at the former. At last check, AKS was up 5% to trade at $3.13, extending its year-to-date gain to 39%.  

Near the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), up 9.1% to trade at $17.39, after Citi upgraded the utility name to "buy" from "neutral" while hiking its price target all the way up to $33 -- the highest on Wall Street, and more than double Friday's close. The analyst in coverage is hopeful that upcoming legislation out of California will limit future wildfire risk and unlock upside for PCG. Although PCG has shed roughly 30% in 2019 amid bankruptcy concerns, the shares are on track to close above their 40-day moving average for the first time since early November.

MMC Daily Chart PCG

On the other end of the spectrum is Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), down 3.9% to trade at $102.66, as video game stocks across the board slump. Thanks to outstanding "Apex Legends" numbers, EA is fresh off its best week since May 2017. And despite the drop today, the video game stock has a 31% year-to-date lead, and appears to have found support at the $102 level.


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