Stocks Hold Gains Ahead of Stimulus Deadline

Moderna's vaccine could be ready for emergency use in December

Digital Content Manager
Oct 20, 2020 at 11:55 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is trading 134 points higher at midday, boosted by a score of blue chip quarterly reports. But the bigger driver this morning is the possible second stimulus package that's still on the table, with the deadline to reach an agreement set for the end of the day. Investors are keeping a close eye on the negotiations, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a phone call to "narrow their differences" on Monday. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also higher, after drugmaker Moderna (MRNA) said its coronavirus vaccine candidate could be ready for emergency use as soon as December. 

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

  • This chipmaker just made a billion-dollar sale.
  • Options traders blast blue-chip stock after an earnings beat.
  • Plus, call buyers circle tech giant post-earnings; Crown Holdings stock jumps on raised guidance; and cannabis stock plummets as class action deadline looms.

Midday Market Stats 1020

One stock seeing notable options activity today is IBM (NYSE:IBM), down 6.2% at $117.82 at last check. The drop came after the tech giant reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that were in line with expectations, but did not provide a forecast due to the pandemic, which contributed to a 5% sales decline. In turn, the equity received three price-target cuts, including one from Evercore to $135 from $137. Nevertheless, sof ar today, 57,000 calls and 39,000 puts have crossed the tape -- nine times the average intraday amount. Most popular is the weekly 10/23 120-strike call, followed by the 119-strike put in the same series, with new positions being opened at both. Year-to-date, IBM is down 12.2%.

Surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Crown Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CCK), up 8.3% at $88.90 at last check, and earlier hitting an all-time-high of $90.21. Today's bull gap came after the metal packaging concern reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' estimates. As a result, the company also raised this year's earnings forecast to $5.65 per share. The stock had been chopping higher on the charts since April, successfully reclaiming its breakeven level in September, with support from the 60-day moving average. Year-over-year, CCK is up roughly 28%.

Meanwhile, dropping lower is Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB), last seen down 9.1% at $4.28. This comes as law firms remind investors of the looming Dec. 1 deadline to file a lead plaintiff motion in class actions filed against the cannabis producer. One complaint alleges Aurora made materially false or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose overpayment for previous acquisitions and degradation of certain assets. The security has been sinking on the charts since its May rally, guided lower by its descending 20-day moving average. Year-over-year, ACB is down 90.2%.



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