Stocks Sell Off as "Fear Gauge" Spikes

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) is trading at its highest level since July

Laura McCandless
Sep 3, 2020 at 11:58 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is sharply selling off today -- down more than 650 points midday -- with Apple (AAPL) and Salesforce.com (CRM) leading the losses. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) are also deep in the red, as the red-hot tech sector succumbs to profit-taking. Should the former's sell-off hold, it will be its worst single-session decline since March 17.

Somewhat encouraging data from weekly jobless claims isn't enough to lift market sentiment today. Elsewhere, the U.S. trade deficit rose 18.9% in July, as imports increased 10.9% and exports advanced 8.1%. Amidst the sell-off today, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), has reclaimed the 30 level for the first time since July 30.

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

  • Facebook stock pivots lower after calling for a political ad block.
  • This bank stock was boosted by a lofty bull note. 
  • Plus, CIEN puts popping; FLGT surges after COVID-19 test update; and Smartsheet brushes off post-earnings bull notes. 

mmc sep 3

One stock on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) seeing notable options activity is Ciena Corporation (NYSE:CIEN). The stock was last seen down 24.2% at $45.56, after the company announced a likely slowdown due to the affects of coronavirus, despite an upbeat fiscal third-quarter report. So far, 10,000 calls and 8,694 puts have crossed the tape -- total options volume that is 11 times what's typically seen at this point. Most popular so far is the October 40 put, where new positions are being opened. 

Scaling the Nasdaq today and brushing off the broad-market selloff is Fulgent Genetics Inc (NASDAQ:FLGT), up 17.2% at $33.79 at last check. Today's pop comes after the company added Influenza A and Influenza B results to its COVID-19 tests. Now up 162.1% year-to-date, FLGT bounced yesterday off its 50-day moving average, a trendline not breached on a closing basis since early July.

On the other hand, dropping on the NYSE is Smartsheet Inc (NYSE:SMAR), down 13.5% at $51.58 at last check. Today's fall comes despite the software company reporting better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, which prompted no fewer than seven price-target hikes -- three of which to $65. Just yesterday, SMAR scored a record high of $60.79, but even with today's pullback is still up 12% in 2020.

SMAR Sep 3


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