Stocks Finish Lower After China Headlines Sour

A China trade delegation cut its trip to U.S. farms

Managing Editor
Sep 20, 2019 at 4:29 PM
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The Dow traded in a 268-point range on quadruple-witching expiration, eventually slumping to a triple-digit loss. U.S.-China trade headlines drove today's price action, with stocks initially rising after President Donald Trump revealed a lengthy list of Chinese goods exempt from tariffs. However, the Dow pivoted sharply lower in afternoon trading on news a Chinese trade delegation canceled its visit to U.S. farms in Montana, while Trump told reporters he doesn't need a trade deal with China before next year's presidential election. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq turned lower with the Dow, with all three indexes logging their first weekly loss in a month.

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

  • Why General Electric puts could pay off big.
  • 2 stocks that were on analysts' radar today.
  • Plus, Ferrari options hit high gear; analyst turns cautious on Netflix earnings; and last-minute FIT options activity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 26,935.07) recorded a 159.7-point, or 0.6%, loss. Merck (MRK) had the best day of the 10 blue-chip gainers, finishing up 1.4%, while Intel (INTC) led the 20 laggards with its 1.6% drop. For the week, the Dow shed 1%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,992.07) logged a 14.7-point, or 0.5%, loss, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 8,117.67) closed down 65.2 points, or 0.8%. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% on the week, while the Nasdaq gave back 0.8%.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 15.32) gained 1.3 points, or 9%. It turned in an 11.5% weekly win.

closing indexes sept 20

NYSE and Nasdaq Sept 20

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. Amid a growing backlash, e-cigarettes were discontinued by Walmart (WMT) today. Walmart cited "regulatory complexity" and "uncertainty" around the industry, which is in hot water amid a lung disease outbreak that has killed at least eight people. (CNBC)
  2. The week has come and gone, and General Motors (GM) has yet to reach a contract resolution with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Around 48,000 UAW GM workers have been on strike since Monday, and today thousands of Canadian GM auto workers were furloughed. (CNBC)
  3. Ferrari's options volume hit high gear today. 
  4. Why one analyst is already wary of Netflix's earnings report next month.
  5. Behind the mad dash for Fitbit calls.

There are no earnings to report today.

 Unusual Options Activity Sept 20

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil, Gold Log Big Weekly Wins

Oil fell today, but still held on to strong weekly gains. Ahead of expiration, October-dated crude futures shed 4 cents to settle at $58.09 per barrel. For the week, black gold gained 5.9%, it's biggest weekly gain since June. 

Gold bounced back today, as safe-haven demand increased in the wake of President Trump's announcement of Iran sanctions. Gold for December delivery added $8.90, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,515.10 an ounce. For the week, gold gained 1%, its first win in four weeks.


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