Blue-Chip Earnings, Dovish Fed Lift Dow

However, UNH has turned lower, paring the Dow's gains

by Lillian Currens

Published on Apr 16, 2019 at 12:06 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is off its intraday highs, but remains comfortably above breakeven, with help from blowout earnings from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). However, while UnitedHealth Group (UNH) stock initially moved higher after earnings, it's now the worst blue chip at midday, as health insurers sink on concerns about proposed changes to the industry rebate system. Elsewhere, dovish comments from Federal Reserve officials are also boosting stocks. Against this backdrop, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are higher as well. 

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

Midday Market Stats Apr 16

McDermott International Inc (NYSE:MDR) is seeing unusual options volume today, with roughly 12,000 calls across the tape so far -- nearly seven times the average intraday volume. The January 2020 10-strike call is by far the most popular, with most positions likely being bought to open. MDR stock is up 10.8% at $10.13, after the oil concern inked a contract with Qatargas. 

One of the top performers today is Rexan Pharmaceuticals Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:RNN), on a pancreatic cancer drug development and commercialization agreement with BioSense Global. The pharma stock is up 42.5% at $7.64, at last check, and earlier traded as high as $9.14. RNN is pacing for its best day since 2014, but is still set to close beneath its 80-day moving average -- a trendline not tackled since before a late-January bull gap. 

RNN Chart Apr 16

Wave Life Sciences Ltd (NASDAQ:WVE) is one of the underperformers on the Nasdaq today, on poorly received data for its muscular dystrophy treatment. WVE shares have plummeted 28% to $24.48, at last check, and earlier touched a new annual low of $22.90.


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