Stocks Dragged Down By Retail Sales, China Tensions

The Hong Kong protests could play a role in U.S.-China trade talks

Managing Editor
Oct 16, 2019 at 11:54 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is flat today, as Wall Street digests a number of shaky headlines at home and abroad. The blue-chip index pared early morning losses, as the prospects of a Fed rate cut later this month increased in the wake of a surprise drop in September retail sales. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are both lower, as traders also eye the latest batch of earnings reports.

And abroad, China has threatened retaliatory measures should the Senate approve a House-passed bill that supports Hong Kong protesters. Plus, a Bloomberg report indicated China wants U.S. duties rolled back before purchasing U.S. agricultural products.

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

  • A failed cancer treatment has knocked Eli Lilly stock lower.
  • Analyst targets 30% upside for this telecom stock.
  • Plus, options bears circle Slack stock; Armistice takes stake in Mallinckrodt; and Adobe downgraded.

Midday Market Stats Oct 16

One name seeing heightened options volume today is Slack Technologies Inc (NYSE:WORK), with 17,000 puts crossing the tape so far -- five times the average intraday amount, and volume pacing for the 100th percentile of its annual range. Most of the action is around the November 25 and 30 puts, where new positions are being opened. Slack stock is down 6.6% to trade at $23.11 today, after a price-target cut to $28 at Morgan Stanley, so it appears options traders aren't optimistic about a rally from the workplace messaging name in the next month.

Mallinckrodt PLC (NYSE:MNK) is near the top of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today, up 13% to trade at $2.35, after reports that Armistice Capital took a passive 8.5% stake in the drugmaker. In addition, drug stocks are higher amid reports major pharma distributors are in talks to settle opioid litigation. MNK is still down 85% in 2019, amid a flurry of opioid lawsuits, and today's rally has so far been contained by its 30-day moving average, a trendline that turned away a September rally on settlement buzz.

On the other end of the spectrum is Adobe Inc (NASDAQ:ADBE), down 3.6% to trade at $269.15, one of the worst stocks on the SPX today. This comes after Citigroup downgraded the software stock to "neutral" from "buy," while trimming its price target to $313 from $322. Today's damage has been cushioned by ADBE's 320-day moving average, a trendline breached only once on a closing basis this year.

MMC Daily Chart ADBE



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