Stocks Up as S&P 500 Eyes Record Close

All three benchmarks are headed for weekly wins

Managing Editor
Oct 25, 2019 at 12:00 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) looks poised to finish the week strong, up nearly 200 points at midday, thanks to a blowout earnings report from chip icon Intel (INTC). The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are firmly in the black too, and heading for their third straight wins, with the former pacing for a record closing high. The latter's rise is particularly notable considering the disappointing quarterly report from FAANG darling Amazon.com (AMZN). All three benchmarks are heading toward weekly wins, and traders today are digesting news that the U.S. and China are "close to finalizing some sections" of a phase one trade deal, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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

  • Buy puts on this blue chip before earnings next week. 
  • Anheuser Busch Inbev stock just breached a key trendline after earnings.
  • Plus, options traders react to Verizon earnings; Fifth Third earns another upgrade; and VF Corp whiffs on earnings.

Midday Market Stats Oct 25

One name seeing heightened options volume today is Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), with more than 45,000 options crossing the tape so far -- triple the average intraday amount, and already toppling the average daily volume at midday. There's notable activity around the weekly 11/22 62-strike call, where it looks like options traders are selling to open new positions, attempting to call a top for VZ shares at $62. Verizon stock was up 0.3% to trade at $60.79, at last check, holding just below its Nov. 20 19-year high of $61.58.

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) is up 2.9% to trade at $29.06 today, after the banking name was upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at UBS. The brokerage firm also upped its price target to $33 from $32, territory not explored since May 2018. Analysts have been applauding Fifth Third stock before and after earnings this week, and has it pacing for its highest close since Aug. 1.

MMC Daily Chart FITB

Near the bottom of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this morning is VF Corp (NYSE:VFC), down 9% to trade at $82.67 today. The retailer is under pressure after fiscal second-quarter earnings and revenue fell short of estimates. VFC nabbed a record high of $93.84 on Tuesday, Oct. 22, but is now heading toward its worst single-session drop since October 2018. 

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