Stocks Stumble After Lighthizer's China Trade Warning

There is a flurry of market-moving events happening today

Managing Editor
Feb 27, 2019 at 12:13 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is sharply lower at midday, down nearly 150 points amid flurry of market-moving events. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are joining the Dow in the red, after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in congressional testimony that "much still needs to be done" to achieve a trade deal with China.

Also in focus is a denuclearization meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, as well as congressional testimonies from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Traders are digesting a round of economic data, too, including a slimmer-than-expected rise in December factory orders and larger-than-forecast bounce in January pending home sales. Plus, the U.S. goods trade deficit surged 12.8% in December.

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

  • This weed stock is crushing shorts today.
  • Bear notes have swiftly followed a dismal Weight Watchers earnings report.
  • Plus, options traders eye quick Macy's pullback; Micron takes a breather; and Vitamin Shoppe stays hot.

Midday Market Stats Feb 27

Options volume is accelerated on Macy's Inc (NYSE:M). Nearly 42,000 options have changed hands, three times the average intraday amount and volume pacing in the 92nd percentile. The weekly 3/1 25-strike put is the most popular option so far today, and it looks like speculators are purchasing new positions here to bet on downside through this Friday's close. Macy's stock is up 2.2% to trade at $25.26, pushing above a key level and extending yesterday's earnings-induced upside.

Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) is down 3.6% to trade at $41.40, one of the worst stocks on the S&P 500 today. The semiconductor stock is taking a breather after gaining earlier this week on Trump's tariff announcement, falling back below resistance at its 160-day moving average. Despite today's pullback, MU has gained 46% since its Dec. 26 bottom at $28.39.

MMC Daily Chart MU

Vitamin Shoppe Inc (NYSE:VSI) is up 6.6% to trade at $7.42, one of the top stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today. The nutritional supplements retailer is extending its gains after yesterday's upbeat earnings report. VSI has now added nearly 56% year-to-date as it closes in on its 200-day trendline. 

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