Vaccine Data, Powell Send Dow Surging

Moderna's COVID-19 testing data has helped boost the market

Assistant Editor
May 18, 2020 at 12:18 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is soaring in afternoon trading, coaxed upwards by Moderna's (MRNA) positive COVID-19 vaccine trial data. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also in the black, as investors happily digest comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on "60 Minutes." Plans to ease lockdowns further within the U.S. and around the world have also been thrown into the mix of sentiment, though fears of a second wave remain. 

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

  • The tech retailer fresh off a bull note.
  • Cinemark stock shows up despite analyst slam. 
  • Plus, the finance stock with popping options; Moderna's sector peer is seeing a boost; and the Aridis Pharmaceuticals stock slide.

mmc may 18

One stock seeing unusual options activity today is Capital One Financial Corp (NYSE:COF), up 6.5% at $61.82 at last check. The company has seen 30,000 puts cross the tape so far -- 12 times the usual rate. Most popular are the June 45- and 50-strike puts, with new positions being opened at the former. The 50-strike put is also the second top open interest position. Though the reason for this rise in put volume is unclear, the equity has shed 39.7% year-to-date, with overhead pressure from the 60-day moving average capping multiple breakout attempts this year. 

Topping the Nasdaq today is Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX), up 25.7% at $54.87 at last check, earlier hitting a three-year high of $61.50. The equity looks to be surging on the the back of Moderna's (MRNA) aforementioned vaccine data. Over the past 12 months, Novavax stock has climbed a staggering 880%, with long-term support stemming from the 40-day moving average.

On the other hand,trading near the bottom of Nasdaq is Aridis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ARDS), down 8.3% at $7.89 at last check, though the catalyst for today's drop remains unclear. The stock's breakout attempts have been turned away by the $10 region in recent weeks, but of late looks to be seeing support at the 40-day moving average. Despite today's setback, the equity remains 90% higher for 2020.

ARDS mmc may 18

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