Shaky Healthcare Sector Limits Dow Gains

AXP and TRV are at the top of the Dow after earnings

by Lillian Currens

Published on Apr 18, 2019 at 12:03 PM

The suffering healthcare sector is keeping the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) in check again today, with investor anxiety ramped up over recent policy proposals from legislators. However, the Dow remains in the black at midday, with help from positive earnings reactions for Travelers (TRV) and American Express (AXP). On the other hand, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are both lower and set for weekly losses.

Elsewhere, Attorney General William Barr gave a statement on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, saying that while there were 10 "episodes" of President Donald Trump and obstruction of justice, there is not enough evidence to press charges. 

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

  • This analyst thinks Starbucks is still cool. 
  • 2 golf stocks surging on "Tiger Mania." 
  • Plus, options traders pile on Altria puts amid D.C. drama; the biotech stock that's tripled today; and Sleep Number stock suffers on a revenue miss.

midday market stats apr 18

Tobacco name Altria Group Inc (NYSE:MO) is seeing unusual options volume today, with roughly 29,000 puts exchanging hands so far -- nearly five times the average intraday volume. The April 54 put is the most popular, with the majority of contracts being bought to open ahead of tonight's expiration. MO stock is down 4.5% at $53.68 today, after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will introduce a bill in May that will raise the minimum tobacco-buying age to 21. 

Pharmaceutical concern Mustang Bio Inc (NASDAQ:MBIO) is by far the best performer on the Nasdaq, after a report claiming its new gene therapy can cure immunodeficiency disease XSCID, commonly called 'bubble boy disease.' MBIO shares are up 253.8% at $9.41, at last check, pacing for their best day ever.

Sleep Number Corp (NASDAQ:SNBR) is one of the worst performers on the Nasdaq, after releasing disappointing first-quarter revenue. The stock is down 14.2% at $41.21, in response, set for its worst day since February 2016. On the charts, SNBR just came off an all-time high earlier this month. Today's drop has the security trading back beneath its 30-day moving average -- which served as a recent area of support -- for the first time since January. 

SNBR Chart Apr 18


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