Dow Extends Slide Amid New Tariff Drama

The White House is weighing retaliatory tariffs at China

Assistant Editor
May 1, 2020 at 12:15 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is stumbling into the weekend, nursing a nearly 600-point loss at midday. As if the coronavirus outbreak wasn't pressuring Wall Street enough, now there are fresh tariff threats from President Donald Trump aimed at China in retaliation for the country's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also deep in the red, as FAANG stock Amazon.com (AMZN) drags the tech-heavy index lower after a profit warning. Against this backdrop, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), is headed for its first weekly win in six weeks.

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

  • Chevron stock took a surprising post-earnings hit.
  • A vaccine deal has Moderna stock soaring.  
  • Plus, Facebook weekly calls pop; bull notes for ASGN after earnings; and Carnival Cruise in SPX cellar.

Midday Market Stats May 1

One stock seeing notable options trading activity today is Facebook Inc.(NASDAQ:FB). The social media giant was last seen trading at $204.01. At last check, just over 113,000 calls have crossed the tape, volume ranking in the lofty 91st percentile of its annual range. Leading the charge is the weekly 5/1 210-strike call, while there are new positions being opened at the 205-strike call from the same series. Facebook stock is fresh off a post-earnings bull gap from yesterday, and options traders are clearly eyeing more gains from the social media stock by the end of the day, when the contracts expire.

One stock scaling the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) today is ASGN Inc (NYSE:ASGN), up 15.6% to trade at $53.69 at last check. The staffing agency scored a first-quarter earnings beat, prompting price-target hikes to $50, $60, and $75 from Credit Suisse, Suntrust Robinson, and RBC, respectively. Now, ASGN is set to topple its 80-day moving average for the first time since February.

ASGN Chart May 1

On the other end of the spectrum is Carnival Corp (NYSE:CCL) stock, last seen off 13% at $13.82. The catalyst is unknown, and it appears CCL is just a victim of the broad market headwinds. The shares have taken a 72% haircut in 2020, but have come off their April 2 record lows of $7.80.

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