Dow Up Nearly 400 Points at Midday as Oil Sinks

Possible COVID-19 treatments are propping up stocks today

Assistant Editor
Apr 17, 2020 at 11:54 AM
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Despite paring bigger gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) looks like it will end the week on a positive note, up nearly 400 points at midday. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are both joining the Dow in the black, as optimism over a possible COVID-19 treatment eases Wall Street worries about the ongoing economic slowdowns.

Barring any last minute drama, all three indexes are cruising toward their first back-to-back weekly wins since mid February. Switching focus, oil prices are sharply lower, with May-dated crude futures nearing 21-year lows just prior to expiration, last seen down 8.8% at $18.12 per barrel.

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

  • Regions Financial is the latest banking name to post an earnings blunder.
  • Gilead Science's stock is surging amid COVID-19 treatment progress.
  • Plus, SPCE calls buzzing; easing lockdown rumors driving Planet Fitness stock; and defense stock hakes off bear notes.

Midday Market Stats April 17

One stock seeing notable options trading activity today is Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc Class A (NYSE:SPCE). The space tourism stock was last seen up 3.3% to trade at $18.80. At last check, nearly 20,000 SPCE calls have changed hands, doubling the amount of puts exchanged. The April 20 call is leading the charge, followed closely by the weekly 4/24-strike call. Currently, SPCE is up 61% in 2020.

One stock experiencing a massive surge this morning is Planet Fitness Inc (NYSE:PLNT), up 11% to trade at $55.50 at last check. PLNT's rise on the charts comes amid reports of the re-opening of gyms as part of President Trump's shutdown protocols, as well as news earlier in the week that the company will partner with iFit to create new in-home workouts. PLNT is looking to close above its 40-day moving average for the first time since late February. 

PLNT Chart April 17

Meanwhile, another stock soaring today is TransDigm Group Incorporated (NYSE:TDG), last seen up 11.9% to trade at $336.83 at last check. Unfortunately, the defense stock's rally is set to be turned away at its 30-day moving, a ceiling in place since mid February. Today's surge comes despite two price-target cuts to $450 and $350 from BMO and SunTrust Robinson, respectively.

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