Tech Sector Leads Stocks Toward Worst Day in Months

The VIX is back above the 20 handle

by Josh Selway

Published on May 13, 2019 at 12:01 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is falling further at midday, flirting with a 600-point pullback on this morning's bombshell that China is raising tariffs on U.S. imports. Huge losses in the tech sector have the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) posting similar pullbacks, while Apple (AAPL) is the top Dow loser so far. While stocks' potentially worst day in months is resulting in a sharp rise in the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), the market's "fear gauge" has remained below a few key levels.

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

  • Analyst calls marijuana M&A "critical game changer."
  • Why put volume is popping on Teva Pharmaceutical.
  • Plus, bears circle sinking telecom stock; blockchain stock surges; and Mallinckrodt makes another move lower.

midday market stats may 13

One name seeing unusual options trading today is CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE:CTL). The telecommunications stock has been on a downtrend since last August, and today has fallen another 2.1% to trade at $10.67, hovering near 25-year lows. Put traders seem to be betting on more downside, with almost 11,000 contracts crossing at the July 8 put near the ask price.

One of the best stocks today is Riot Blockchain Inc (NASDAQ:RIOT), thanks to the strength out of bitcoin. The shares are up 10.9% at $4.48, putting their year-to-date lead at nearly 200% as they trade just above the 50-day moving average. On the other hand, the $5 area may be a region of resistance, since it is roughly half the stock's 52-week high and home to the 320-day moving average.

riot stock may 13

One stock sliding on the charts once again is generic drugmaker Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE:MNK), likely falling in sync with sector peer Teva Pharmaceutical. The shares have lost 9.2% to trade at $14.79, with Berenberg cutting its price target to $10 from $14. This follows notable bearish options betting around MNK in recent weeks.

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