Micron, Apple Push U.S. Markets Higher

Weekly jobless claims fell by more than expected

Managing Editor
Mar 21, 2019 at 12:03 PM
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Stocks are moving higher this afternoon, with Apple (AAPL) leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) thanks to a shower of bull notes. In addition, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are higher, with Micron (MU) pacing a chip rally. Traders are also digesting newly released jobs data, with weekly jobless claims falling by more than expected last week. Against this backdrop, the major market indexes are on pace to bounce back from yesterday's dovish Fed news.

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

  • Analyst: This stock's "puzzling" sell-off presents an opportunity for bulls.
  • Olive Garden parent pops after earnings win
  • Plus, one retailer's unusual post-earnings options surge; Biogen's big hit; and the food name at the top of the NYSE.

Midday Market Stats March 21

Retail giant Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) is sporting unusual options volume today, with 3,000 calls and 8,600 puts across the tape so far -- seven times the usual volume. Most popular has been the April 57.50 put, where 5,500 contracts have exchanged hands. Today's surge in attention comes after the company's fourth-quarter profit beat, which has WSM shares up 3.1% at $58.67, at last check.

The bottom stock on the Nasdaq today by a long shot is pharmaceutical concern Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB), last seen down 27% at $233, after halting its late-stage trial for Alzheimer's drug aducanumab. BIIB earlier hit a more than two-year low of $226.61, and is now down 24% year-to-date. No fewer than four bearish analyst notes have been handed to the security, including a downgrade to "market perform" at William Blair, and a price-target cut to $257 from $400 at BofA-Merrill Lynch. 

Packaged foods name Conagra Brands Inc (NYSE:CAG) is at the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), after the company earlier reported an impressive fiscal third-quarter profit beat. The shares are now up 10.4% at $25.35, at last glance, set to mark CAG's highest close of 2019. CAG is now up 19% year-to-date, with today's success briefly pushing the shares back above the $26 mark for the first time since a post-earnings slide on Dec. 20.

Daily CAG with 80MA Since March 2018

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