Stocks Pivot Higher During Fed Chair Testimony

Powell began his two-day congressional testimony

by Patrick Martin

Published on Feb 26, 2019 at 12:17 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is modestly higher at midday, swinging into positive territory after spending most of the morning in the red thanks to a negative earnings reaction for Home Depot (HD). The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) have also erased earlier losses, as investors digest the latest remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. In the first day of his semi-annual testimony before Congress, Powell warned of "crosscurrents and conflicting signals" to a generally healthy U.S. economy, but noted the Fed is ready to adjust its monetary policy, as necessary. Wall Street is also weighing an onslaught of economic data, including a bigger-than-expected rise in consumer confidence in February. 

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

  • The buzz that has this weed stock climbing.
  • UBS is selling Caterpillar stock on global growth risk.
  • Plus, pre-earnings options bears bet on more trouble for Campbell Soup; earnings beat powers AutoZone stock; and Blue Apron pulls back.

Midday Market Stats Feb 26

Options volume is accelerated on Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB). More than 7,900 puts have changed hands, nine times the average intraday amount and eight times the number of calls traded. The weekly 3/1 31.50-strike put is the most popular option so far today, and it looks like speculators are purchasing new positions here to bet on more downside through this Friday's close. CPB stock is up 1.5% to trade at $32.76, but has shed 6.5% in the past week ahead of the company's fiscal second-quarter earnings report, due before the open tomorrow, Feb. 27.

AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) is up 5.4% to trade at $937.15, the best stock on the S&P 500 so far today. The auto parts retailer reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations, as well as same-store sales numbers that surpassed analyst estimates. AZO earlier nabbed a fresh record high of $964.39, and boasts a nearly 12% year-to-date lead.

Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN) is a notable decliner today, down 5.4% to trade at $1.30, although the catalyst is unknown. Prior to today's pullback, APRN has more than doubled off its Dec. 21 record low of $0.65 to yesterday's close at $1.38. And despite today's drop, the shares are finding support at their 100-day moving average. 

MMC Daily Chart APRN


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