Stocks Climb Ahead of Fed Minutes as Nasdaq Eyes Elite Eight

January's Fed meeting minutes will be released later today

Managing Editor
Feb 20, 2019 at 11:48 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is clinging to marginal gains at midday, as investors await the release of the latest Fed meeting minutes. There are no new trade developments between the U.S. and China to report, although President Donald Trump has been hinting at a possible extension to the March 1 tariff deadline. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also cautiously in the black, with the latter heading toward its eighth straight win and longest winning streak since August. Elsewhere, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), earlier fell to a four-month low. 

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

  • Upbeat guidance couldn't trigger a Bausch Health stock rally.
  • Tesla announced yet another C-suite exit.
  • Plus, options traders target a FITB pullback; TWLO stays hot; and TEVA gets downgraded. 

Midday Market Stats Feb 20

Options volume is accelerated on Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), with a bearish tilt. Over 4,600 put options have changed hands, 15 times the average intraday amount and 17 times the number of calls traded. Most of the action is centered at the March 27 put, where it appears new positions are being opened. At last check, FITB was up 0.3% to trade at $27.60 and boasts a 17% year-to-date lead.  

Twilio Inc (NYSE:TWLO) is up 5% to trade at $117.64, one of the top stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today, although the catalyst is unclear. TWLO dipped last week in the wake of a subpar quarterly report, although the damage was contained by its 30-day moving average. In the last 12 months, the red-hot software stock has more than tripled, and notched a record high of $119.25 today.

MMC Daily Chart TWLO

On the other end of the spectrum is Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NYSE:TEVA), down 2.8% to trade at $17.52, after Mizuho downgraded the drug stock to "neutral" from "buy" while slashing its price target to $18 from $25. The analyst in coverage sees lofty investor expectations for a business that has exhibited a slow return to growth. Despite gapping lower last week in the wake of a fourth-quarter earnings miss, TEVA has still added 13.3% year-to-date.

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