Stocks Treading Water as Stimulus Talks Drag On

SNAP and NFLX are moving in opposite directions post-earnings

Digital Content Manager
Oct 21, 2020 at 11:58 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is trading slightly above fair value at midday, and even into negative territory earlier, as investors monitor talks of additional stimulus. According to reports, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seem to be making "good progress," and negotiations are expected to continue throughout the day. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, meanwhile, disclosed that he would like to see a deal completed by the end of the week. 

Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) are also slightly higher, as Snap's (SNAP) blowout earnings report helps take the sting out of FAANG name Netflix's (NFLX) lackluster subscription numbers.

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

  • Auto parts stock rises on lofty analyst upgrade.
  • Is Chipotle stock overpriced ahead of earnings?
  • Plus, options bears bite into Blackstone; Snap's skyrocketing user growth; and AFI hits the floor after sales drop.

Midday Market Stats 1021 2

One stock seeing notable options activity today is Blackstone Group Inc (NYSE:BX). Just a week ago, the investment management company disclosed it sold 8 million shares of Sunrun (RUN) at $60.25, after the energy company completed a merger with Vivint Solar from July. So far today, 49,000 puts  have crossed the tape -- 22 times the average intraday amount. Most popular is the March 2021 35 put, with positions currently being opened. Year-over-year, BX remains up 11.4%.

Surging on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP), up 29.5% at $36.86 at last check, and earlier hitting a new all-time-high of $37.17. Today's bull gap came after the social media concern reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' estimates, thanks to outstanding user growth during the pandemic. As a result, the tech company earned an upgrade from Truist to "buy" from "hold" and a whopping 21 price-target hikes, including one from RBC to $38from $35. The stock had been braving up the charts since April, successfully reclaiming its breakeven level in June with support from the 20-day moving average. Year-over-year, SNAP is now up an impressive 158.6%.

SNAP

Meanwhile, dropping lower is Armstrong Flooring Inc (NYSE:AFI), last seen down 21.1% at $4.12. The drop came after the company reported third-quarter sales fell 5.4% to $156.6 million due to coronavirus-related disruptions, which include the postponement of commercial projects. The security has experienced its fair share of volatility this year, dropping to an all-time-low of $1.15 on March 10. But while shares have somewhat recovered from that bottom, AFI still has a long way to go before it reaches this year's  January high of $6.74 mark. Longer term, the security is down 36.2% year-over-year.

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