Stocks Pummeled as Recession Fears Rattle

The Dow is headed for its worst percentage loss in over a month

by Patrick Martin

Published on Oct 2, 2019 at 11:48 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is down over 450 points at midday -- heading for its worst single-session percentage drop in over a month -- as Wall Street extends its brutal start to the fourth quarter. Subpar economic data continues to fuel fears of a recession, this time with the latest ADP employment report signaling a slowdown in private-sector hiring. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also sharply lower, while Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), barrels toward its highest close since Aug. 15. 

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

  • Analyst: Coca-Cola will dig into Monster Beverage stock.
  • Bernstein just pumped the brakes on Activision Blizzard stock.
  • Plus, put traders eye United Natural Foods' dismal earnings; JNJ the last Dow stock standing; and Delta Air Lines grounded by weak guidance.

Midday Market Stats Oct 3

One name seeing unusual options volume today is United Natural Foods Inc (NYSE:UNFI), with 4,900 puts crossing the tape so far -- 10 times the average intraday amount, and volume pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual range. Most of this attention is on the October 7.50 put, where new positions are being opened. The shares were last seen down 23.7% to trade at $8.42, after the grocery name reported fourth-quarter earnings and issued guidance below analyst expectations. 

The only Dow stock in positive territory today is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), up 1.6% to trade at $132.13, after the drugmaker settled with two Ohio counties over its role in the opioid epidemic. The company will pay $20.4 million to settle, but avoids a federal trial. JNJ is heading toward its third straight win and has reclaimed its year-to-date breakeven level this week. 

Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) is another name trending sharply lower today, down 4.3% at $54.09, under pressure from the airliner's lower-than-expected revenue growth forecast. Delta stock is on track to breach its 200-day moving average on a closing basis for the first time since early June. 

MMC Daily Chart DAL


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