Stocks Spiral Amid U.S.-China Trade Deal Doubts

President Trump's "impulsive nature" concerns the Chinese government

Patrick Martin
Oct 31, 2019 at 11:55 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is sharply lower at midday -- and was down nearly 250 points at its session lows -- as U.S.-China trade tensions overshadow another busy day of earnings. A Bloomberg report, citing unnamed sources, indicated the Chinese government has doubts about a long-term trade deal and President Donald Trump's "impulsive nature" causing risk of reneging on any agreement. Trump took to Twitter to respond, saying "phase one" represents 60% of the long-term deal, and a new location for its signing will be announced soon, following yesterday's surprise cancellation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Chile.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also in the red. However, the tech-heavy latter index's losses have been limited by big days for Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) after their upbeat quarterly reports. Elsewhere, oil prices are sinking once more, with December-dated crude futures down 2.2% at $53.84 per barrel. 

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

  • These 2 drug stocks are bucking the broad-market sell-off.
  • Twitter stock is under pressure after banning political ads.
  • Plus, Gap pullback targeted by options bears; Kraft Heinz breaks out after earnings; and AK Steel slashes outlook after GM strike.

Midday Market Stats Oct 31

One name seeing heightened options volume today is Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS), with nearly 4,300 put options crossing the tape so far -- triple the average intraday amount and almost five times the number of calls traded. Nearly all of the attention is on the November 16 put, where new positions are being opened. GPS was last seen down 2.6% at $16.45, following a price-target cut to $15 at J.P. Morgan Securities, so the put buyers are banking on more struggles for the retail stock in the coming weeks.

Kraft Heinz Co (NASDAQ:KHC) is at the top of the SPX today, up 11.5% to trade at $31.91, after the food concern reported third-quarter earnings that topped analyst expectations. The company's CEO also revealed a plan to reduce debt and reinvest in its core brands. KHC is cruising toward its best day since February 2017, and is on track to finish above its 160-day moving average for the first time since July 2017.

MMC Daily Chart KHC

AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) is one of the worst stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today, down 9.4% to trade at $2.42, after the company's third-quarter earnings report. The steelmaker slashed its fiscal-year outlook, citing the recent General Motors strike. Today's drop appears to have found support, though, at the shares' 80-day moving average.


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